Academic & Policy Resources


Legal/policy Resources: United States

Invisible Bars: Adapting the Crime of False Imprisonment to Better Address Coercive Control and Domestic Violence in Tennessee

Written by Alexandra Michelle Ortiz

Vanderbilt Law School graduate Alexandra Michelle Ortiz published Invisible Bars: Adapting the Crime of False Imprisonment to Better Address Coercive Control and Domestic Violence in Tennessee in Vanderbilt Law Review. The note outlines a proposed adaptation to the preexisting law of false imprisonment to create a comprehensive coercive control statute in the United States. It also highlights what advocates can learn from the UK Law and why the United States Constitution requires American advocates take a different approach. You can read more about the note here.

JUDICIAL GUIDE TO CHILD SAFETY IN CUSTODY CASES

CREATED BY NATIONAL COUNCIL OF JUVENILE AND FAMILY COURT JUDGES

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges created this important resource examining coercive control in custody cases. According to the organization, "coercive control is one of the key terms identifying the methods used by a parent who is willing to use children to harm the other parent and/or for financial gain. Being a compelling liar often goes hand-in-hand with the ability to effectively coerce a child or parent into complying with demands. Another sign that coercive control is being used is that the controlling parent and counsel are indifferent to the trauma caused to the children and the targeted or victimized parent." The Judicial Guide to Child Safety in Custody attempts to help judges and child advocates recognize a coercive control dynamic in cases concerning child custody and safety. This guide would also be helpful for law enforcement, child protective services and all first responders, especially pediatricians and emergency room staff and doctors.

EN(GENDER)ED PODCAST: FAMILY COURTS SERIES

created by Teri Yuan

This podcast series is particularly helpful in better understanding how coercive and controlling partners and parents manipulate family courts. Multiple experts with a variety of backgrounds and experience within the system are interviewed, allowing for a complex and multi-faceted exploration of the current crisis in the family court system.


Legal/policy Resources: United Kingdom

INtimidatory offenses sentencing guidelines

made available by U.K. Sentencing Council

The U.K. Sentencing Council released sentencing guidelines for "intimidatory offenses," including those convicted under the 2015 law criminalizing controlling or coercive behavior in an intimate or family relationship. The press release announcing the new guidelines indicates they were created after a public consultation and intended to "provide judges and magistrates in England and Wales with consistent and comprehensive guidance when sentencing these related offences." The guidelines provide direction on analyzing the seriousness of the offense committed and consideration for aggravating factors.

POLICE TRAINING ON COERCIVE CONTROL

made available by U.K. College of Policing

The U.K.'s College of Policing has provided a guide for how they teach officers to investigate domestic violence cases with the new law in place. These guidelines are useful for understanding how the coercive control pattern is translated into tangible pieces to use as evidence in an investigation. Additionally, those tangible parts, such as using text messages, bank statements, etc., may be practices or investigative methods that could be utilized to strengthen current policies and practices in the United States, regardless of the lack of a law that explicitly criminalizes coercive control.

STATUTORY GUIDANCE FRAMEWORK: CONTROLLING OR COERCIVE BEHAVIOUR IN AN INTIMATE OR FAMILY RELATIONSHIP

MADE AVAILABLE BY GOV.UK

This document was written to inform legal professionals about a law criminalizing coercion in the U.K.  The legal guidance framework contained here could contain useful information for those involved in (but not limited to) law, policy, or criminal justice. It also contains a checklist for police offers when collecting evidence. This guidance is intended to provide information on "identifying domestic violence, domestic abuse and controlling or coercive behaviour, circumstances in which the new offence might apply, the types of evidence for the offence" and "the defense."

LEGAL GUIDANCE: CONTROLLING OR COERCIVE BEHAVIOUR IN AN INTIMATE OR FAMILY RELATIONSHIP

MADE AVAILABLE BY CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICES

The Code for Crown Prosecutors is a public document, issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions, that sets out the general principles Crown Prosecutors should follow when they make decisions on cases. The legal guidance contained in this document provides useful information on implementation of the UK coercive control law for those involved in (but not limited to) law, policy, or criminal justice.


Academic Resources

Re-presenting Battered Women: Coercive Control and the Defense of Liberty 

written by Dr. Evan Stark

Dr. Evan Stark's work on coercive control is foundational and this article is a helpful entry point for many. Stark outlines the current “violence model” of domestic violence, which “equates partner abuse with discrete assaults or threats.” He explains why this approach is wrong and that assessments ought to identify the level of coercive control an abuser utilizes over a victim, rather than the level of physical injury. This approach relies on a plethora of research that indicate the level of control in an abusive relationship, not the presence of prior assaults, is a “better predictor… of future sexual assaults and of severe and fatal violence.” We wrote more on this article here.

Technology Facilitated Coercive Control: Domestic Violence and the Competing Roles of Digital Media Platforms

Written by Drs. Molly Dragiewicz, Ariadna Matamoros-Fernandez, Michael Salter, Nicolas P. Suzor, Delanie Woodlock, & Bridget Harris

For those interested, a copy of this article may be requested by the authors here. This resource explores the role of online misogyny "within the broader context of domestic violence" and how abusers utilize digital technologies to "exacerbate" and "to mediate and coordinate violence" against their victims. Current research on technology facilitated coercive control, including the role platforms (such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) can play to "engender counter-misogynistic discourse" and act to protect victims through "regulation and governance of online abuse," is reviewed. This article may also be particularly helpful for its discussion of challenges for platform governance and complications digital platforms face in protecting users against those who utilize their products to coordinate abuse. We wrote more about the article here.