The challenge of evidencing coercion and control in the assessment of domestic abuse perpetrators
Recent decades have seen significant changes to the way criminal justice practices are understood and developed. Moving away from reactive investigations towards proactive approaches, evidence-based practice has become the new paradigm for policing (Sherman, 2013). Similarly, probation practice has become dominated by the evidence-based practice agenda, potentially at the expense of broader conceptualisations of effective intervention (Lancaster & Lumb, 2006). Alongside the move towards evidence-led practice has been the introduction of formalised risk assessment tools. For example, the Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Honour-based violence (DASH) or Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA) tools (Robinson, Pinchevsky, & Guthrie, 2016). Following patterns of established thinking and research on domestic violence abuse, these tools have tended to focus on documenting violent incidents and their impact on victims. Stark (2007) and Johnson (2008) highlight that while overt violence is important in assessing the risks posed by individual perpetrators, this focus has been to the detriment of a more nuanced understanding of coercive and controlling behaviours not involving violence. The Priority Perpetrator Identification Tool (PPIT), a recently developed structured assessment of individuals and their associated risks, makes a limited attempt to address this problem (Robinson & Clancy, 2015). Within the PPIT, there are sections for practitioners to identify key risk factors, such as the intensity and frequency of violent and abusive incidents, or the individual’s use of alcohol. Brief guidance notes to assist the practitioner in identifying appropriate types of indicators and evidence are included with each factor. The PPIT form includes an area for practitioners to utilise their professional judgement to identify ‘any other concerning information’ (Robinson & Clancy, 2015: p. 50). This is the only area of the tool to mention ‘coercion and control’, offering it as an example of ‘other concerning information’. Robinson and Clancy (2015) recognise feedback from practitioners during the development of the tool identified a need to clarify the meaning of ‘coercion’, as it could be understood to have multiple meanings (p. 18). This paper considers the question of what could be considered as appropriate evidence of coercion and control.
Sexual Violence and Domestic Violence Research Network Delivered to the Coercion and Control in the Commission of Sexual Violence and Domestic Violence and Abuse Conferenc, De Montfort University: 11 Nov 2016
Citation : Tangen, J (2016) The challenge of evidencing coercion and control in the assessment of domestic abuse perpetrators. Delivered to the Coercion and Control in the Commission of Sexual Violence and Domestic Violence and Abuse Conference, De Montfort University: 11 November 2016
Research Group : Community & Criminal Justice Research
Research Institute : Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice
Peer Reviewed : No