Coercive control recognised in court

The first case in which coercive control has been recognised in court has just been completed, with Sally  Challen’s conviction for murder being quashed.  Sally admits to killing her husband, but this came after decades spent in an abusive relationship.

Sally had been sentenced to 22 years in prison for murder, but will now face a retrial.  The judges at her appeal ruled that she had been suffering from two mental disorders at the time of the murder, linked with the coercive control which her husband held over her.

Coercive control was recognised in law in 2015, but has not been widely understood prior to that.

You can read more about the case in the Independent’s website.


Domestic Abuse Bill published in January

The Government’s new legislation to tackle Domestic Abuse was published in January.  It will

  • include economic abuse and manipulative abuse in the definition for the first time
  • establish a Domestic Abuse Commissioner
  • introduce Domestic Abuse Protection Notices, and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders, to protect victims, and restrict abusers
  • prohibit the cross-examination of victims by their abusers in family courts
  • give automatic eligibility for victims to receive special support in criminal courts.

With thanks to Safer Cornwall for this information.  You can read their full article discussing the new legislation on the Safer Cornwall website.


Reproductive coercion

Reproductive coercion is beginning to be recognised as an aspect of abuse, describing the situation where a woman’s reproductive choices are controlled by another. This is not always a partner, but can be a parent, or other family member, and it can take the form of preventing them from having children, or forcing the woman to have (more) children when she does not want that.

It was only recognised officially in 2010, although has been practiced for much longer than that. It covers a wide variety of actions, including removal of a condom during sex, preventing a woman from taking contraception, psychological abuse, physical violence, and trying to induce an abortion. It is much more common than previously thought, according to a report in the British Medical Journal.

You can read an article in the Independent about it, and find the BMJ report here.