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Coercive Control: Sources of Evidence

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

Rachel Watson, a writer from Scotland provides valuable information on coercive control and domestic violence in family law. She recently posted a blog on evidence and informed decisions for victims of coercive control. Borrowing from her insightful work, I share the types of evidence that may be useful in demonstrating a pattern of coercive control control family law files.

Good Quality Evidence

  • Mobile phone & email messages, voicemail recordings

  • Photos of damage to property or, in the event of physical abuse too, photos of injuries

  • Medical & health & wellbeing

  • Bank statements (control of finances)

  • Communications with the school, children's coaches, activity leaders

  • A diary detailing incidents and the impact of those incidents

  • Hidden surveillance devices

Evidence showing incidents where the victim was;

Alarmed, distressed, humiliated, punished, degraded, bullied, threatened, influenced, isolated, manipulated, intimidated, blackmailed, helpless, confused, frightened

  • Unable to work or attend classes, activities, events and trips

  • Reported or threatened with being reported to the police, social services, immigration authorities

  • Monitored, stalked, sexually abused or deprived of freedom

Evidence of;

  • Relationship breakdown between the victim and their parents, siblings, therapists, doctors, individuals they loved, trusted, socialised with or opened up to

  • Evidence showing that the perpetrator intended to cause physical or psychological harm, or was heedless of the consequences of their actions

  • The adverse impact of the behaviour on a child(ren).

Coercive control is challenging to identify on the surface as well as to evidence. Obtaining and preserving available evidence is important, in particular where family law systems may be new to the concept of coercive control and it's importance best interest determinations.


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