Coercive control is a criminal offence. If you experience this form of abuse you can report it to the police. The police may give your abuser a warning or they may arrest him for a criminal offence. If the police have enough evidence they will refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service (‘CPS’). The CPS can start criminal proceedings against your abuser. If he is found guilty of an offence he can be sentenced up to 5 years in prison or made to pay a fine or both.
The court may also make a restraining order to protect you. The court can make restraining orders even if your abuser admits that he is guilty, if he is convicted (found guilty) even if he is acquitted or not convicted of the crime. A restraining order is a court order which prohibits your abuser from doing certain things such as contacting you or attending your place of work or home address. Breaching (breaking) a restraining order is a criminal offence. For more information on the criminal justice process see our legal guides Reporting an offence to the police: A guide to criminal investigations and From charge to trial: A guide to criminal proceedings.
Coercive control can involve a range of criminal offences including assault, rape, threats to kill, burglary and criminal damage. Coercive control is a criminal offence even if you have not experienced any physical violence or damage to your property. You can report everything that has happened to the police and the police will identify which criminal offences may have been committed. If you have experienced a violent crime you may be entitled to criminal injuries compensation. For more details see A guide to criminal injuries compensation. You can also contact our legal advice line, please see Useful contacts for details.