Shift is partnering with IMPACT, a provincial collective aimed at eradicating domestic and sexual violence in Alberta, on examining coercive control as a model and approach to prevention.
The coercive control project is part of a larger collaboration between Shift and IMPACT: together, they are developing a primary prevention framework for Alberta. Part of their strategy is to ground key stakeholders in a solid understanding of the causes of violence along with evidence-informed strategies to stop it before it starts.
To that end, Shift authored a discussion paper called Building a case for using “Coercive Control” in Alberta. The paper aims to educate readers on coercive control – an important concept that reveals abuse as something more insidious and complex than bruises and broken furniture. Coercive control is a domination strategy that exploits gender inequalities, particularly in domestic environments, using tactics like intimidation, micro-managing and violence to isolate a woman and destroy her autonomy.
Building a case for using “Coercive Control” in Alberta began with a comprehensive literature review to define the concept and analyze its potential as a model. The paper summarizes lessons learned in the U.K. on the implementation of coercive control laws, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses. It then recommends next steps for IMPACT members as they consider advocating for laws based on the coercive control model.
Report co-author Lianne Lee, recognizes that a decision to adopt the coercive control model in Alberta should be a deliberate and thoughtful process. Any discussion about coercive control raises larger questions about the system that perpetuates gender-based violence. Lee notes that “the coercive control model focuses on transforming justice and legal systems – but they have a history of patriarchal and colonial oppression and may not be the best vehicles to advance the model in Alberta. We hope to build our own, Alberta-made model.”