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Coercive Control Law - Defence Solicitors

Have you been accused of coercive control? Or are you concerned about what might happen next? Our coercive control solicitors have a wealth of combined expertise and experience in handling these types of matters and will be on hand to provide carefully tailored advice and representation if you are facing such a serious accusation.

Coercive controlling behaviour is a serious offence, and the relevant penalties and sentences for anyone convicted can be severe. Depending on the circumstances of the case, coercive control laws dictate that you could be handed a sentence ranging from a community order through to a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment - in addition to being subject to various types of court orders.

At JD Spicer Zeb Solicitors, we understand that facing a potential charge of coercive control can be incredibly daunting. Our coercive control solicitors can provide immediate support and representation, providing immediate support and representation, providing you with the best possible chance of avoiding charges or minimising penalties where conviction is unavoidable.

Our highly qualified solicitors offer:

  • 24/7 legal support in person and over the phone, 365 days a year
  • Representation anywhere in England and Wales
  • Accredited Police Station Representatives to support you during a police interview
  • Clear, effective legal advice in any language (see our languages spoken)

Whether you have been accused of coercive control, have been arrested, charged or released on bail or under investigation, get in touch with our coercive control solicitors as soon as possible.

Please note that we only accept private work for coercive control offences. We do not offer legal aid for this particular area of law.

Speak to our coercive control solicitors in London, Manchester and Birmingham today

For a free initial consultation on your legal position and the available options, please call 020 7624 7771.

For urgent advice at any time of day or night, please call our emergency number 07836 577556.

You can also email: solicitors@jdspicer.co.uk or fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you quickly.

Our coercive control solicitors can represent you at Willesden Court if you are due to make an appearance there. This means that our costs will likely be lower, as we are a local firm to the court.

Our coercive control expertise

Defending allegations of coercive control

Coercive control is a specific domestic abuse offence where a defendant is alleged to have behaved in a way that manipulates the way someone acts, thinks and feels. Coercive control could involve actions such as threats, humiliation, intimidation and physical violence.

The new offence of coercive control, which does not have retrospective effect, came into force on 29 December 2015.

For someone to be convicted, coercive control laws dictate that a prosecution must be able to prove that:

  • The behaviour was repeated, and
  • The defendant personally knew the victim, and
  • Their behaviour had a serious effect on the victim, and
  • The defendant knew, or reasonably ought to have known, that their behaviour would have had a serious effect on the victim.

Every case involving allegations of coercive control is unique, which means that a number of different factors need to be taken into consideration when it comes to building an effective defence case.

Our domestic abuse defence team can work alongside you to carefully review your situation and take the most appropriate course of action. Depending on your circumstances, this may include demonstrating that:

  • Your alleged behaviour cannot be considered ‘coercive’ or ‘controlling’
  • Your alleged behaviour did not have an effect on the other person
  • You could not have reasonably been aware that your alleged behaviour would have an effect on the other person

Why choose our coercive control solicitors?

The criminal defence team at JD Spicer Zeb Solicitors have been advising and representing clients in relation to domestic abuse offences, such as coercive and controlling behaviour, for more than 40 years. Our team understand the various complexities and challenges that come with these types of cases, so we can ensure that no important details or angle of defence is overlooked. This will help to ensure that you have the best chance of achieving the right result for you.

We have extensive experience representing clients in both Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court, so can effectively support you at all levels of court proceedings. Our team includes a number of accredited police station representatives, allowing us to provide 24-hour police station representation. 

We have been accredited by the Law Society for Criminal Litigation and Children Law, recognising our expertise across two areas critical to dealing with many domestic abuse cases, including coercive control.

If your case is due to be heard at Willesden Court, we can represent you, with our costs likely being lower as we are a local firm to the court.

Funding your coercive control defence

Funding police station representation

You are entitled to free legal representation if you have been arrested or are being interviewed under caution. This can be from a solicitor of your choosing.

Funding your legal defence if you are prosecuted

Please note that we only accept private work for coercive control offences. We do not offer legal aid for this particular area of law.

When self-funding your legal representation, we can clearly explain all of the potential costs and our fee structures. The contribution you make to your legal defence may be refunded if you are found not guilty.

However, it is possible that you may not necessarily recover the full amount of the fees you have paid. This is because if an award for costs is made, the ‘appropriate authority’ will assess the amount and decide if the costs claimed relate to the work that appears to have been reasonably done. The amount payable is calculated in accordance with rates laid down by the government.

Frequently asked questions about coercive control

What is coercive control?

As we have briefly discussed, coercive control is a form of domestic abuse. It involves behaviour that is designed to manipulate the way someone acts, thinks and feels. In essence, the supposed goal of coercive and controlling behaviour is for an abuser to isolate someone, exploit them and reduce their level of independence.

Someone guilty of coercive control will likely use threats, humiliation tactics, intimidation and physical violence. In addition to this, they may illicit some form of sympathy, leaving a victim entrapped and confused.

Examples of coercive and controlling behaviour may include:

  • Preventing someone from seeing or talking to family, friends and colleagues
  • Monitoring and controlling where someone goes
  • Controlling what someone eats
  • Monitoring phone calls and text messages
  • Verbal abuse
  • Financial control

How is coercive control proved?

To prove that coercive control took place, the prosecution is required to prove that:

  • The behaviour was repeated, and
  • The defendant personally knew the victim, and
  • Their behaviour had a serious effect on the victim, and
  • The defendant knew, or reasonably ought to have known, that their behaviour would have had a serious effect on the victim.

To do this, the prosecution will need to rely on various pieces of evidence, which may include but are not limited to:

  • Phone Recordings
  • Video footage
  • Written communications, such as text messages and emails
  • Medical records
  • Photographic evidence
  • Bank records to show financial abuse
  • Eyewitness accounts

What are the sentencing guidelines for coercive control?

Controlling and coercive behaviour sentencing guidelines are wide ranging and will vary depending on a number of different factors.

Starting off, when judging the relevant penalty, the court is required to determine the offence category by looking at the level of culpability.

  • A – Higher culpability
    • Conduct intended to maximise fear or distress
    • Persistent action over a prolonged period
    • Use of multiple methods of controlling or coercive behaviour
    • Sophisticated offence
    • Conduct intended to humiliate and degrade the victim
  • B – Medium culpability
    • Conduct intended to cause some fear or distress
    • Scope and duration of offence that falls between categories A and C
    • All other cases that fall between categories A and C
  • C – Lesser culpability
    • Offender’s responsibility substantially reduced by a mental disorder or learning disability
    • Offence was limited in scope and duration

Once this has been established, the level of harm is weighed up against the factors of the case.

  • Category 1
    • Fear of violence on many occasions
    • Very serious alarm or distress that has a substantial adverse effect on the victim
    • Significant psychological harm
  • Category 2
    • Fear of violence on at least two occasions
    • Serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on the victim

Once the culpability and harm are established, the court will decide on the relevant penalty. According to coercive control laws, offences that are deemed to be ‘A’ for culpability and are Category 1 for harm carry the most severe penalties, with a range of between 1-4 years’ custody, whereas offences deemed ‘C’ for culpability and Category 2 for harm have a range of a low-level community order to 26 weeks’ custody.

In many instances, prosecutors will also apply for restraining orders, even upon acquittal.

A detailed look at controlling and coercive behaviour sentencing guidelines can be found here.

Contact our coercive control solicitors today

For urgent specialist advice, immediate representation, or to speak to us confidentially about coercive and controlling behaviour charges, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact a member of our dedicated team of criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:

Or email: solicitors@jdspicer.co.uk

Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

24/7 legal representation for people accused of coercive control

For immediate representation and advice, you can contact our Emergency Number: 07836 577556, and we will provide you with the urgent assistance you need.

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