Coercive control: Report says few teens know about form of abuse

  • Susan Lagdon
  • Lucia KlencakovaQueen's University Belfast
  • ,
  • Dirk SchubotzQueen's University Belfast
  • ,
  • Ciaran ShannonNorthern Health & Social Care Trust
  • ,
  • Mark Tully
  • Cherie Armour
  • Julie-Ann Jordan

Press/Media: Research


Fewer than one in six 16-year-olds have heard of coercive control and know what it means, a new study suggests.

The research from Ulster University (UU), Queen's University Belfast (QUB) and the Northern Health Trust has just been published.

Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse involving a pattern of threats, humiliation and intimidation.

Domestic abuse laws, which came into force in Northern Ireland in 2022, made coercive control a criminal offence.

But in the study only 325 (16%) of more than 2,000 16-year-olds had both heard of it and knew what it meant.

More boys who took part said they knew about it than girls.

Higher numbers of young people involved in the study did recognise an abusive relationship when presented with an example of one.

But the researchers also said there was limited evidence on how relationship and sex education (RSE) in schools was addressing things like coercive control.

There have been a number of recent calls for changes to how RSE is taught in Northern Ireland.

Period16 Jan 2023

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