Press Release

27 September 2022

Refuge responds to Manchester Metropolitan study on coercive control

Responding to Manchester Metropolitan University’s study on the link between coercive control and homicide, Ruth Davison, CEO of Refuge, said:

“This academic study from Manchester Metropolitan University is extremely important and highlights just how common, and misunderstood, coercive and controlling behaviour is.

“Although it became a crime in 2015, prosecutions for this form of domestic abuse remain woefully low. In the year ending March 2021 the police in England and Wales recorded 33,954 offenders of coercive control; yet there were only 373 convictions. This underscores what Refuge already knows – that much more needs to be done to support understanding of coercive control and the devastating impacts it can have.

“That is why Refuge, together with the ‘Make it Mandatory’ campaign is calling on the government to make learning about domestic abuse and coercive control mandatory for all 16-19 year olds. By helping ensure our young people learn about domestic abuse, Refuge hopes that they will be better equipped to spot abusive behaviours and seek support sooner. This could save lives.”


Notes to editors

  1. Details of the study can be found here.

About Refuge

Refuge supports thousands of women and children on any given day, and runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which is the gateway to accessing specialist support across the country. More than one in four women in England and Wales experiences domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime, and two women a week are killed by a current or former partner.

Please signpost to Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247, available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for free, confidential specialist support. Or visit to fill in a webform and request a safe time to be contacted or to access live chat (live chat available 3pm-10pm, Monday to Friday). For support with tech abuse visit