Coercive Control: Update and Review

Evan Stark*, Marianne Hester

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
2018 Downloads (Pure)


This article reviews the background, introduction, and critical response to new criminal offenses of coercive control in England/Wales and Scotland. How the new Scottish offense is implemented will determine whether it can overcome the shortcomings of the English law. We then review new evidence on four dimensions of coercive control: the relationship between “control” and “violence,” coercive control in same-sex couples, measuring coercive control, and children’s experience of coercive control. Coercive control is not a type of violence. Indeed, level of control predicts a range of negative outcomes heretofore associated with physical abuse, including post-separation violence and sexual assault; important differences in coercive control dynamics distinguish male homosexual from lesbian couples; measuring coercive control requires innovative ways of aggregating and categorizing data; and how children experience coercive control is a problem area that offers enormous promise for the years ahead.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-104
Number of pages24
JournalViolence against Women
Issue number1
Early online date16 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for Gender and Violence Research


  • children
  • coercive control
  • measurement
  • same-sex couples
  • violence

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