Coercive Control And The Domestic Violence Context

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Coercive Control in the Domestic Violence Context:

Academically, Domestic violence is “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional or psychological abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence varies dramatically.” However, in Washington State Domestic Violence includes a more limited definition. In Washington State Domestic Violence is defined as (a) Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members; (b) sexual assault of one family or household member by another; or (c) stalking as defined in RCW 9A.46.110 of one family or household member by another family or household member. This statutory definition is similar to that of many states in that it omits the “systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against the other” otherwise known as “coercive control.” The omission of this provision in the statutory language creates difficulty in obtaining domestic violence protection orders, when the victim cannot describe instances of physical violence, stalking, or sexual assault, yet lives in very real fear of their partner. In this literature review, I will analyze the phenomenon that is now known as
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