Tuesday, May 30, 2023
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Regular listeners to Radio 4’s “The Archers” are gripped by the current storyline involving a long-standing character, Helen Archer, who has recently married Rob Titchener. Their relationship shows signs of domestic abuse, and specifically coercive control. Some signs of coercive control (A is Abuser and V is Victim):

• Physical/sexual violence

• Jealous/possessive behaviour by A – often justified by A as being “over caring”

• Isolating V from friends/family

• A has Jekyll and Hyde temperament and V alters behaviour to avoid angering A

• A exerts control over V’s life – who they see, what they wear, money

• A blames V for making him feel bad

• A is critical of V and belittles her in public

As with Helen, you may not see all of these signs if someone you know is a victim. They are unlikely to tell you as they often feel responsible for their situation. You may need to ask many times before they will ask for help. An abuser makes their victim lose confidence and undermines their self-esteem. If a victim feels ready to take legal advice there are several ways a family lawyer can help – obtaining a non molestation order, an occupation order (to remove A from the family home), issuing divorce proceedings, negotiating the financial consequences of the relationship breakdown, and dealing with children issues.

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