Call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) for 24/7 support

In 2024, coercive control will become a criminal offence in new south wales 

This digital resource aims to help educate our community on what Coercive Control is, who is at risk, and why it is important to take action if you think you may be using Coercive Control in your relationships, or your are experiencing controlling tactics.

The New South Wales Government has put together a comprehensive guide on Coercive Control. 

The following is a quick guide for our community to raise awareness and understanding  of Coercive Control.

What Is Coercive Control?

Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse in which an individual utilises repetitive hurtful, intimidating, or isolating tactics to dominate another person. This type of behaviour can cause significant harm, making it vital to recognise the warning signs.

Coercive Control includes physical and non-physical behaviours or tactics, many of which can seem minor on their own, but when repeated can cause significant harm.

Everyone's experience of Coercive Control is different, but there are common patterns, behaviours and tactics to look out for.

All types of relationships can experience Coercive Control.

Coercive Control is never accidental, it is the deliberate implementation of  behaviours and tactics to manipulate another person.

Help is available. Whether you think that Coercive Control may be occurring in your relationship or someone else's, there are a number of ways you can seek assistance.

How to find help

 experiencing coercive control?

1800 RESPECT is available 24 hours, 7 days a week on 1800 737 732

The Men's Referral Service is available 24 hours, 7 days a week on 1300 766 491

The Wagga Women's Health Centre is available from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday on 02 6921 3333

Supporting someone experiencing coercive control?

1800 RESPECT is available 24 hours, 7 days a week on 1800 737 732

The Men's Referral Service is available 24 hours, 7 days a week on 1300 766 491

The Wagga Women's Health Centre is available from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday on 02 6921 3333

concerned about your behaviour?

1800 RESPECT is available 24 hours, 7 days a week on 1800 737 732

The Men's Referral Service is available 24 hours, 7 days a week on 1300 766 491

The Wagga Women's Health Centre is available from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday on 02 6921 3333

what are the tactics and behaviours to look out for?

There are a variety of tactics and behaviours used in Coercive Control. 

Some people use just one tactic or behaviour, others use a combination. Regardless of whether someone is using one tactic or behaviour, or they are using many, the use of any of these to control or manipulate another person constitutes Coercive Control.

Financial Control

Financial Control is controlling or limiting another person's access to money, or their ability to make or earn money, or building up debts via loans and credit cards in their name.

Financial control can be a form of abuse and may include a range of tactics such as:

Giving a small allowance and strictly monitoring a person's spending
Prohibiting an adult from having a bank account as a way to limit their access to money and financial independence
Preventing someone from working outside the home and earning their own income, thus forcing them to rely on you financially
Taking on loans or maxing out credit cards in another persons name

Social Control

Social Control refers to the practice of separating a person from their social support system, such as friends, family, and community, thereby limiting their ability to build relationships. The following are examples of social control:

Making unfounded accusations of infidelity or dishonesty when the individual interacts or spends time with their loved ones.
Accompanying the person every time they spend time with friends or family, creating discomfort and tension to sabotage the relationship.
Controlling the individual's means of communication by confiscating or monitoring their phone or internet usage.
Restricting the person from engaging with their community.

Technology Facilitated Control

Technology Facilitated Control is harassment, stalking, and monitoring refer to the act of tracking a person's movements, activities, or communications through various means, including technology.

This can include:

Sending excessive texts or making repeated calls while demanding an immediate response from the other party.
Accessing a person's emails, social media, and text messages to keep tabs on their activities, relationships, behaviour, and whereabouts.
Tracking a person's location through phone tracking apps or devices attached to their car or person.
Installing hidden cameras and listening devices in a person's home or vehicle.

Sexual Control

Sexual control is any form of sexual activity that is forced, coerced, or performed without consent. This may involve pressuring, tricking, or threatening someone into participating in sexual acts that they are not comfortable with. 

Here are some examples:

Setting conditions or demands for sexual activity
Forcing someone to engage in sexual activity
Taking photographs or videos of someone naked or engaging in sexual activity, with or without their consent, and using them to intimidate or embarrass them.

Physical Control: 

Violence and intimidation are used to hurt, control, or intimidate someone, inducing fear. This behavior can manifest in various ways, such as:

Physically harming someone by pushing, shaking, slapping, kicking, punching, or choking them
Threatening physical harm
Throwing or breaking objects, punching walls, or driving recklessly to make someone feel unsafe or threatened, even if they are not physically hurt.

Cultural or Spiritual Control

Cultural or Spiritual Control entails preventing individuals from forming or maintaining connections with their cultural, spiritual, or communal roots. This form of abuse may involve:

Undermining someone's spiritual or cultural beliefs or traditions
Disallowing someone from engaging in cultural or spiritual ceremonies and events
Prohibiting someone from speaking their native cultural language
Preventing someone from establishing or retaining connections with their spiritual or cultural community.

Emotional or Psychological Control: 

Emotional or psychological control is the intentional harm of an individual's mental health and emotional wellbeing. Often these tactics or behaviours include actions that could take away someone's self-respect and dignity, or cause them to feel ashamed. 

Examples of emotional and psychological control include:

Consistently belittling, shaming, or humiliating someone, causing them to question their own abilities and self-worth.
Utilising tactics such as withholding affection or giving the "silent treatment" to pressure or punish the other person.
Changing or manipulating the truth of a situation to make the other person doubt their own memories, perceptions, and experiences. This is known as gaslighting.
Using grand gestures, excessive gifts, compliments, and affection to manipulate or control the other person. This is referred to as love bombing.
Posting hurtful or humiliating messages on social media about the person, or posting from their account without their permission
Belittling someone or making jokes at their expense to damage their self-esteem and overall sense of self-worth
Sharing private information about someone that could lead to them being shamed or judged in their community, family or social group
Engaging in activities that could take away someone's dignity, such as making them sleep outside or forcing them to beg for basic necessities such as food, money, or medication.

Other Mechanisms of Control 

Reproductive Control, Child Abuse, Animal Abuse and Systems Abuse can also be forms of behavour or tactics used to manuiplate or control a person. 

Reproductive control relates to controling a persons access to reproductive healthcare or controlling their reproductive choices
Child abuse in the context of coercive control includes using emotional bonds to control and intimidate, abusing caregivers in front of the child, and direct abuse towards the child through threats, humiliation, monitoring, and physical abuse.
Animal abuse in the context of coercive control, involves using the emotional bond a person has with an animal to intimidate or control them. Examples include intentionally letting a person's pet out, selling or giving away their pet without permission, hurting or threatening to hurt someone's pet, and killing or threatening to kill someone's pet.
Systems abuse involves using systems, services, and processes to manipulate, threaten, or control another person. This may include making false reports to harass or intimidate someone, making them distrustful of support services, or exploiting their disability or medical condition to make decisions without their consent.

Who is at risk?

Coercive control can happen to anyone and in any type of relationship. Nevertheless, individuals from different backgrounds may experience it differently. Controllers may take advantage of those who already face discrimination and inequality to exert their power. Additionally, these victims of Coercive Control may encounter obstacles in receiving adequate support. Although some groups are more susceptible to coercive control, it's crucial to remember that the victim-survivor is never to blame.

The following is a list of the groups in our community that are more likely to be subjected to Coercive Controlling Behaviours and tactics by a controller:

Women
Coercive control is used mostly by men against women. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 14 men have experienced intimate partner violence since age 15. Women are more likely to experience severe and repeated abuse, and nearly 80% of intimate partner violence homicides in NSW, Australia between 2000 and 2018 were women. Pregnancy, early motherhood, and separation are times of increased risk for women.
People with a disability
Women with disabilities face more frequent and varied instances of violence from different individuals, often including intimate partners, family members, or caregivers. Dependence on the abuser for care and support may make it harder to leave or seek help, and abusers may exploit their role as caregivers or the individual's disability to perpetrate abuse.
Aboriginal People
Aboriginal women experience higher rates of violence, which they may not report due to past government practices, mistrust of mainstream services, fear of repercussions, and experiences of racism. Research shows they are 31 times more likely to be hospitalised due to domestic and family violence.
People from Multicultural, Migrant, and Refugee backgrounds
Research indicates that domestic and family violence affects one in three migrant and refugee women. Temporary visa holders experience higher levels of family and domestic violence. Abusive individuals may exploit a person's visa or immigration status or limited English proficiency to control them. Women from multicultural backgrounds face unique challenges in accessing support services, including language barriers, fear of affecting their visa or immigration status, and fear of being separated from children.
People who are LGBTQIA+
Around 60% of LGBTQIA+ people experience intimate partner violence, and about 65% experience family violence. Abusive individuals may use a person's sexuality, gender, body, or HIV status to control, threaten, or isolate them.
Older People
Older people are vulnerable to abuse from various individuals, including family members, carers, and support workers. The abuser may take advantage of the older person's dependence on them for care and support, using their role to control and abuse them. This can make it difficult for the older person to leave or seek help.
Children and young people
Coercive control can negatively affect children and young people, whether directed at them or used against their parent or carer. They may experience violence, threats, control, and fear, and are at risk of experiencing this type of abuse in their own relationships. Research indicates that young people may be less likely to identify certain types of abusive behaviour, such as technology-facilitated abuse and emotional abuse.

How to find help

If you or someone you know is  experiencing coercive control OR you are concerned about your own behaviour

1800 RESPECT is available 24 hours, 7 days a week on 1800 737 732

The Men's Referral Service is available 24 hours, 7 days a week on 1300 766 491

The Wagga Women's Health Centre is available from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday on 02 6921 3333

This awareness campaign has been brought to you by:

Sisters Housing Enterprise Inc.

wagga women's health centre Inc.

Linking Communities Network Ltd (LCN)

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Call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) for 24/7 support