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Innovative Legal Remedies for Coercive Control  

Author:  D. Kelly Weisberg.; Julie Saffren.

Source: Volume 27, Number 01, October/November 2021 , pp.1-8(8)

Domestic Violence Report

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The doctrine of coercive control marks a radical transformation in our understanding of intimate partner violence. It has slowly revolutionized the field by enhancing our knowledge of the underlying dynamics of power and control. In the past few years, law reform efforts have culminated in the codification of coercive control in several foreign countries and a few American states. The codification movement stems from an awareness that new strategies are necessary to capture this pattern of abuse that the law heretofore failed to recognize. This article comprehensively reviews new legal strategies arising out of the concept of coercive control. Three primary law reform approaches are evident: (1) criminalization; (2) civil law reform expanding eligibility for restraining orders; and (3) personal injury lawsuits that seek compensatory damages and punitive damages. In exploring these approaches, our hope is to provide a lens through which policymakers might better consider law reform in their jurisdiction.

Keywords: Coercive Control; Criminalization; Civil Law Expansion; Tort Innovation

Affiliations:  1: UC Hastings College of Law; 2: Santa Clara University School of Law.

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