Coercive Control – Landmark Case

Domestic Violence Campaigner, David Challen, successfully campaigned to free his mother in a landmark case recognising coercive control. In 2010 Sally was jailed for life for killing her husband after decades of being coerced and humiliated by him. In February 2019 the court of appeal quashed her conviction in light of new evidence about her mental state at the time of the killing.  A plea of manslaughter was accepted and having already served an equivalent penalty of over 9 years in prison, Sally was released.

She said that “many other women who are victims of abuse and violence are in prison today serving life sentences for murder rather than manslaughter”. She went on to say she hoped the justice system would take abuse more seriously. The family say that Richard Challen subjected his wife to decades of psychological abuse, which is referred to as coercive control under laws introduced in 2015.

This case has highlighted two things: that coercive control is a serious matter and that the courts need to recognise and understand domestic violence.

The Guardian 7 June 2019 and The Telegraph 7 June 2019