What the research evidence tells us about coercive control victimisation


Coercive control is the ongoing and repetitive use of behaviours or strategies (including physical and non-physical violence) to control a current or ex intimate partner (i.e. victim-survivor) and make them feel inferior to, and dependent on, the perpetrator (Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety [ANROWS], 2021).

Coercive control is a relatively new area to policy, practice and research and the research evidence is still emerging. However, AIFS’ consultations with key stakeholders in the child and family sector identified coercive control as a key topic of interest for policy makers and practitioners and that there is a desire for a synthesis of current evidence. This paper synthesises the findings of a rapid literature review to describe what we know about how common coercive control victimisation is, as well as risk factors and impacts of coercive control victimisation.

A victim-survivor is someone who has experienced coercive control victimisation (i.e. been the target of coercive control behaviours by a current or ex intimate partner). The term victim-survivor is used to acknowledge ‘the ongoing effects and harm caused by abuse and violence as well as honouring the strength and resilience of people with lived experience of family violence’ (Victorian Government, 2022).

The findings of the rapid literature review are presented in 3 chapters:

  1. How common is coercive control victimisation?
  2. Risk factors associated with coercive control victimisation
  3. Impacts associated with coercive control victimisation.


MacDonald, J.B., Willoughby, M., Gartoulla, P., Cotton, E., March, E., Alla, K. & Strawa, C. (2024). What the research evidence tells us about coercive control victimisation (Policy and Practice Paper). Melbourne: Child Family Community Australia, Australian Institute of Family Studies.