Coercive control and vulnerability

Coercive control is when someone close to you subjects you to treatment that leaves you feeling controlled, isolated and scared. It is a form of abuse.

Examples of coercive control include the following:

  • Threats
  • Intimidation
  • Controlling finances
  • Monitoring of online activity and phone usage
  • Depriving an individual of their basic needs such as food
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Stopping someone from working
  • Destruction of property or possessions
  • Travel restrictions

Behaviour and coercive control

Coercive control covers a range of behaviors including physical, psychological, sexual, financial and emotional. You can find out about the legal guidance for what constitutes coercive control here.

In the UK, coercive control became a criminal offence in 2015, the legislation can be viewed in full here.

It carries a sentence of up to five years in prison. It is a difficult offence to prove and only 1 in six accused of it are found guilty.

The signs of financial control

Financial abuse is the act of controlling someone’s ability to earn, spend and keep money. Recognising the signs can be difficult, and a wide range of behaviors are associated with financial abuse.

The most common types of financial abuse are when the perpetrator:

  • Does not contribute to joint bills
  • Gets the victim to take out credit
  • Uses all joint resources
  • Controls access to the victim’s income, banking or savings
  • Controls or interferes with the victim’s benefits.

Coercive control and enforcement

The signs can be difficult to recognise, and therefore any Excel enforcement agent who suspects financial control, or has this disclosed to them, must provide an accepting and helpful response.

An appropriate response might be ‘thankyou for confiding in me, let me refer you to our vulnerability policy and signpost you to some organisations that might be able to help you.’

At all times our enforcement agents must be fully aware that anything they are told is confidential and that if the information is to be shared, then consent must be given from the debtor for GDPR purposes.

Useful links

Download our Vulnerability eBook

Download our free eBook "Guide to vulnerability & mental health in enforcement practices"

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IRRV award win

We are delighted to have won the IRRV Excellence in Staff Development Award 2018. We were also Highly Commended in the Excellence in Enforcement category.

Visit the IRRV Awards page

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