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This content originally appeared in our newsletter between August and September 2014 and reflected our views at the time. 

Around 80% of IDVA clients experience coercive and controlling behaviour*, new research from CAADA's Insights service has shown. The research also confirmed that the severity of coercive control correlated with the severity of risk: some 66% of high risk cases analysed were found to be experiencing severe levels of controlling behaviours, compared with 21% or lower for non-high risk cases.

Victims experiencing coercive control** in isolation from other types of abuse were also shown to be more likely to under-report to police. Of 3,000 cases suffering exclusively from coercive control, only 17% made a report to the police - less than half the level of those also experiencing physical abuse.

Diana Barran, CAADA's Chief Executive, says: "Our data underlines two crucial points. Firstly, IDVAs are rightly recognising the risk associated with coercion and control, and not just focusing on physical violence when assessing risk. Secondly, it shows that victims typically only call the police in a crisis.

"While we don't anticipate that changing the law will alter this significantly, we do hope that the focus on patterns of behaviour rather than just single incidents will encourage the police to identify these - both in relation to physical violence and coercive control - when victims do come forward. Sadly, criminalising coercive control will not make a difference to the impact on children who again are the hidden victims of this behaviour. But we do hope it will also raise awareness of the issue, giving more victims the courage to come forward and access specialist support - for themselves and their family."

* Jealous and controlling behaviour, as defined as ‘high' on the Severity of Abuse Grid. 
** Cases where no physical abuse was reported.