In many relationships, there are occasions where one person will make a decision on behalf of their partner, or where one person will take control of a situation. Within a supportive and healthy relationship, this is not an issue.
It is unhealthy when control of a person’s day-to-day life is taken away by their partner, and when there are ‘rules’ they must live by so they do not anger their partner.
If a person has to change what they would normally do, or say, or wear (for more examples see what the law about coercive control says) and is fearful or scared about what will happen if they do not comply, this is called coercive control.
Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse because of the presence of fear. Being fearful of a partner is not healthy. The stress affects self-esteem, mental health and physical health.
Domestic abuse can happen between people who are going out with each other, living together, have children together or are married to each other. It can happen when people live together or separately. It can happen at any age. Domestic abuse can also happen after a relationship has finished.
Research shows that many young people are experiencing coercive control in their first or early relationships. However, they are not aware that it is unhealthy and unacceptable to be treated in this way.