Criminalising Coercive Control

Family Violence and the Criminal Law

  • Marilyn McMahon
  • Paul McGorrery

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. The Harms and Wrongs of Non-Physical Abuse

  3. Fixing a ‘Gap’ in the Law?

  4. New Initiatives

  5. A Way Forward?

About this book


This book considers whether coercive control (particularly non-physical forms of family violence) should be prohibited by the criminal law. Based on the premise that traditional understandings of family violence are severely limited, it considers whether the core of family violence is power-based controlling or coercive behavior: attempts by men to psychologically dominate their partners. Such behavior can cause significant psychological, physical and economic harms to victims and is increasingly recognized as a form of human rights abuse.

The book considers the new offences that have been introduced in England and Wales (controlling or coercive behavior), Ireland (controlling behavior) and Scotland (domestic abuse). It invites consideration of three key questions: Do conventional criminal laws adequately regulate non-physical abuse? Is the criminal law an appropriate mechanism for responding to the coercive control of family members? And if a new and distinctive offence is warranted, what is the optimal form of that offence?

This ground-breaking work is essential reading for researchers and practitioners interested in coercive control and the proper role of the criminal law as a mechanism for regulating family violence.


Criminalizing Non-Physical Family Violence Family Violence Domestic Violence Domestic Abuse Controlling and Coercive Behaviour Psychological Abuse Criminal Law Criminal Justice Scotland Domestic Abuse Act England Serious Crime Act Tasmania Family Violence Act Emotional Abuse Criminalisation Economic Abuse and Family Violence Across Cultures Non-physical Abuse Coercive Control

Editors and affiliations

  • Marilyn McMahon
    • 1
  • Paul McGorrery
    • 2
  1. 1.School of LawDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia
  2. 2.School of LawDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020
  • Publisher Name Springer, Singapore
  • eBook Packages Law and Criminology
  • Print ISBN 978-981-15-0652-9
  • Online ISBN 978-981-15-0653-6
  • Buy this book on publisher's site