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International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Queensland University of Technology 2202-8005 The International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy is an open access, blind peer-reviewed journal that publishes critical research about challenges confronting criminal justice systems around the world.  The Journal is committed to democratising quality knowledge production and dissemination. Authors retain copyright and articles are licenced via Creative Commons to make published articles more readily available and useable. There are no APCs (Article Processing Charges). Authors can submit and publish at no cost.
International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 8 4

The Criminalisation of Coercive Control: The Power of Law?


Making sense of intimate partner violence has long been seen through the lens of coercive control. However, despite the longstanding presence of this concept, it is only in recent years that efforts have been made to recognise coercive control within the legal context. This article examines the extent to which the law per se has the power, or indeed the capacity, to respond to what is known about coercive control. To do so, it charts the varied ways in which coercive control has entered legal discourse in different jurisdictions and maps these efforts onto what is evidenced about the nature and extent of coercive control in everyday life. This article then places the legal and the everyday side by side and considers the unintended consequences of ‘coercive control creep’. In conclusion, it is suggested that the criminalisation of coercive control only serves to fail those it is intended to protect.

Pages:94 to 108
Section: Articles
0 citation(s) in Scopus
1 citation(s) in Web of Science


Total Abstract Views: 1392  Total PDF Downloads: 3596

Author Biographies

University of Liverpool, United Kingdom and Monash University, Australia
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Professor Sandra Walklate is Eleanor Rathbone Chair of Sociology at the University of Liverpool conjoint with Professor of Criminology at Monash University (Victoria, Australia). Her research focuses on questions of criminal victimization in which she has been particularly concerned with gendered violence.

Monash University
Australia Australia

Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology in School of Social Sciences at Monash University (Victoria, Australia) and an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Law and Social Justice at United of Liverpool. Her research examines family violence and the impact of criminal law reform in the United Kingdom, Australia and elsewhere.