Is This Coercive Control?
Journalist and presenter Ellie Flynn brings together a group of 20 young people aged 18-25 for a social experiment, to see if they understand what constitutes coercive control.
Please note that the filming for this programme took place prior to Covid-19 restrictions.
Coercive control is a pattern of behaviour by an abuser to harm, punish or frighten their victim. It’s been illegal since 2015, but would we be able to spot it if we saw it happening?
To find out, journalist Ellie Flynn brings together 20 people aged 18-25 from across the UK to explore if they know what coercive control actually is. Over two days, the group watches a specially-written drama telling the story of the relationship between Rachel and Alex. As the drama progresses, it becomes clear that there is a variety of different perceptions of the events in the story. Some think that what they are being shown amounts to normal behaviour in a relationship, while others believe that a line is being crossed.
At each stage of the process, the group has the chance to vote on whether they think there is anything wrong with the actions of Rachel or Alex. They are invited to come to their own conclusions on what they see, and must decide in a final ballot if what they have witnessed constitutes a crime.
We find out how many believe a crime has been committed. But how many are convinced that they know what that crime actually is?
Finally, the group hears from barrister Clare Ciborowska, who analyses the events in Rachel and Alex’s story. She explains the law and reveals the answer to the key question posed by the programme – is this coercive control?