Domestic abuse isn’t always physical.

Coercive control is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.  This controlling behaviour is designed to make a person dependent by isolating them from support, exploiting them, depriving them of independence and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Importantly, coercive control is a criminal offence.  

Emphasis is currently being placed on people to self-isolate from their places of work and leisure, posing the home as a place of relative safety during the coronavirus pandemic. However, there is growing concern about what impact this might have on those trapped in intimate relationships with people who use violence and abuse.

For some people, home is not a safe place to be, so the prospect of large parts of the population being confined to prevent the spread of the coronavirus opens the potential for increased incidents of domestic abuse and coercive control.

The government acknowledges that the order to stay at home can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse. There is never an excuse for domestic abuse, no matter what the circumstances are.

*The household isolation instruction as a result of coronavirus does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse.*

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is available 24/7: 0808 2000 247.

If you or someone you know would like to find out more about support for victims of coercive control or domestic abuse, please contact us at