I have heard lots of complaints recently on social media from people complaining that the Coronation Street storyline illustrating Yasmeen becoming a victim of Coercive Control from her partner Geoff has gone too far or is too difficult to watch
Those who say the story is too hard to watch should imagine trying to live in a coercively controlling relationship says Rachel Horman
The storyline is certainly not far fetched – I have dealt with hundreds of cases of coercive control over the years and was involved in the campaign for coercive control to become a criminal offence which it finally became in December 2015. Prior to then this type of behaviour was not illegal and offenders went unpunished.
I remember describing one example of abuse that had been inflicted on one of my clients to the home office to highlight why the law was necessary. My client was being forced by her husband to eat all of her meals from a dog bowl on the kitchen floor but when she finally plucked up the courage to report it to the police she was told “come back when he hits you love”.
In fairness to the police the criminal law was sadly lacking in the protection it could afford to victims experiencing this type of non physical abuse until the coercive control legislation came into force
Whilst we have had the law now for over 4 years it still isn’t being used sufficiently by the police which is extremely saddening and shortsighted as the existence of coercive control is a much more reliable predictor of domestic homicide than physical abuse.
If we really are serious about reducing the number of women murdered by their partners or ex partners – which increased by 27% this year and is at an all time high – we need to take robust action and stop this dangerous crime at the earliest opportunity. This is not just the responsibility of the police – we can all do something to help victims when we see it as I can guarantee that someone you know is experiencing this right now.