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Coercive Control And The Definition Of Domestic Abuse

21.1.22 Hands

Many Americans will recognize violence as a symptom of domestic abuse. But abuse survivors say there are many more facets to the issue. While violence is certainly an issue to take seriously in evaluating such situations, behaviors that demonstrate “coercive control” are also primary symptoms of domestic abuse, not just behavior on the way to a dark and vicious conclusion.

These behaviors include things like screening a partner’s phone calls, or selecting clothing deemed “appropriate” or isolating partners from friends and family. Hawaii and California became the first states to introduce anti-coercive control legislation. Other states have put forward similar legislation.

But advocates for abuse victims, many of whom feel as though the deck is already stacked against them and those they represent, feel the bar for proof in legal disputes in these laws is far too high.

What is coercive control? And how can the legal system identify this set of behaviors to help victims of abuse?

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Trained advocates are available 24/7/365 to talk confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship. If you or someone you know needs it, call 1-800-799-7233 or click here: thehotline.org/

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