‘What About the Men?’: Gender and Coercive Control, What We Know From Research

The Scottish Parliament has recently passed legislation (The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill) to recognise coercive control as a specific form of intimate partner violence. This does not relate to a single incident, but rather is a purposeful and sustained pattern of behaviour whereby one person within the relationship seeks to exert power, control or coercion over another.

A range of tactics are used such as isolating the partner from sources of support and social interaction, exploiting their resources (financial and emotional), depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour. This raises some interesting questions about the impact of gender and abuse within wider structural power systems. Research demonstrates that the ‘impact’ of abuse (all types of abuse) disproportionately impact on women as victims, particularly cumulative impacts caused by coercion and control as patterns of abusive behaviours. Increasingly, research about the impacts of abuse on male victims and male perpetrators, have also recognised that there are negative consequences, particularly in relation to mental health outcomes, for men when talking about abuse.

This seminar will delve below the headlines to consider who is doing what to whom and will consider, from the evidence we already have, what the implications of coercive control may have on our understanding of the gendered nature of intimate partner violence.