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Miami Bankruptcy & Criminal Attorney / Blog / Domestic Violence / Coercive Control and Domestic Violence

Coercive Control and Domestic Violence


There are no bruises, no scars, no broken bones. But a controlling partner makes the relationship a torturous experience. While day to day life may not result in stitches or contusions, coercive control is a dangerous and sadistic form of domestic violence.

What is Coercive Control? 

Coercive control can be difficult to define, simply because it occurs in so many different relationships and ways. But the tactics used by abusers are all manipulative methods of control that can escalate to precarious levels, particularly if a victim attempts to leave.  What are some of the behaviors that are of concern?

  • Attempts to isolate one from family, friends, and other support;
  • Obsessive monitoring of a partner’s schedule;
  • Gaslighting and lying;
  • Name-calling and degradation;
  • Financial control;
  • Strictly requiring traditional gender roles;
  • Badmouthing the partner to the kids;
  • Trying to control one’s body and health;
  • Extreme jealousy;
  • Making all decisions in the sexual relationship;
  • Making threats against one’s children or pets.

More About the Coercion 

The insidious thing about coercive control is that victims don’t even realize it’s happening and that they are being ensnared by the behavior of their partner. The subtlety of the actions allows them to be drawn in and overwhelmed before they know what’s happening. One law enforcement officer noted that the single biggest predictor of domestic homicide is coercive control. Other data reveals that most defendants of serious crimes involving domestic violence had little or no previous interactions with police.

Emotional Damage 

Coercive control impacts victims and families in devastating ways. It can destroy a person’s sense of independence and safety, making them believe they are all alone with no control of their lives.  Children are distressed to see such control, even if it isn’t focused on them. The traumatizing impacts can impact their development, creating trust issues and the loss of a sense of wellbeing. Sadly, these impacts can last a lifetime.

 Leaving a Controlling Relationship 

A startling study revealed that victims were 900 percent more likely to be murdered by their partners after a recent separation if the abuser had been controlling than if the couple remained together and control was not an issue. Other research indicates that the lack of violence in a controlling relationship can turn on a dime once an abuser senses a loss of control, such as when a victim attempts to leave the relationship.

Help is Available 

Are you or someone you care about being suffocated with coercive control tactics? While you may feel alone, the truth is that help is available. The dedicated Miami domestic violence attorneys at the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos are here for you. Schedule a confidential consultation in our Miami office today.

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