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Advice centre

Domestic Abuse

Coercive Control

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Don't mask the abuse control isn't love

Domestic abuse doesn’t always have to involve physical fights - constant put-downs and excessive control in the name of ‘love’ can still constitute abuse.

A controlling partner might tell you you’re ugly, you’re stupid and that no-one could love you but them. They might also tell you your friends dislike you and your family don’t care about you… why would they? You’re worthless. They want to know where you’re going and who you’re with 24/7. And if you don’t hand over your social media passwords and mobile phone so they can check your texts, they will show everyone those private pictures you took together.

Don't mask the abuse control isn't love

You are none of these things and you deserve better. We hope this page will support you in taking the first steps towards asking for help. It isn’t easy but please know the police, partner agencies and charitable organisations can and will help and won’t judge any aspect of your life.

Click here to hear Ivy’s story. Ivy* describes how her husband “got into her head”, calling constantly while she was at work, telling her who she could talk to, hiding her shoes and ultimately threatening to hurt or kill her if she told anyone what was happening.

Ivy eventually told someone and her now ex-husband is subject to a five-year restraining order. She is no longer a victim but a survivor and… she works for West Midlands Police.

Coercive control can happen to anyone. There is no shame in coming forward. Call 101 to talk to someone who can help – even if you’re not sure if what you are experiencing is abuse.

*Not her real name.

Cover your tracks

  • Click the ‘Close this page’ button on the right to quickly hide this page. Also be aware of who is around, or who might come into the room, while you are looking at this website.
  • Could you use a computer at a local library, an internet café, a friend’s house or at work instead of your home computer?
  • Your internet browser will record a history of the websites you visit. Remember to clear this history when you’ve finished – here’s some advice on how to do this .
  • Be aware that deleting your entire browsing history can look suspicious – perhaps just delete the websites you don’t want someone else to know you’ve looked at.
  • Clearing cookies can also mean information such as online banking passwords will no longer be saved and again, this could arouse suspicion when another person uses the computer.
  • Many browsers can offer ‘private’ or ‘incognito’ browsing options. This won’t be the case on a computer at work but could help give you more security at home.