Season 3, Episode 5

Coercive control is a subtle form of domestic violence that is often overlooked but leaves lasting scars on its victims. In our latest podcast episode, we discuss this pervasive form of abuse with renowned Professor Emeritus, social worker and author Evan Stark, focusing on its damaging impact on children.

Evan Stark’s ground-breaking research – as published in his 2009 book, “Coercive Control,” and in his most recent 2023 release, “Children of Coercive Control” – has shed light on the terroristic patterns of coercive control that pervade households, making children silent victims of this insidious form of abuse. Stark explains the terrifying dynamics of power play in abusive households where children become pawns, subject to the same tyranny suffered by their mothers.

One of the most chilling revelations from Stark’s research is the correlation between domestic violence and child abuse. Stark argues that domestic violence is the most prevalent context for child abuse. Children, in these environments, are subjected to various control mechanisms, leading to intimidation and profound long-term effects.

Stark’s research has not only exposed the dark reality of coercive control but has also influenced the adaptation of child welfare systems and children-serving systems. These institutions were compelled to rethink their approach towards women and children exposed to abuse, leading to new legislation and a shift in societal understanding of domestic violence.

However, the crippling influence of coercive control in the legal system is still an area of concern. Stark shares cases where children were manipulated and forced into silence, with the abuser often remaining unseen by both child welfare experts and medical professionals. Despite these challenges, progress is being made with examples of countries working to eliminate trial perspective services, aiming to create secure environments for women and children.

This podcast episode isn’t just an exploration of coercive control; it’s a call to action. The invisible terror of coercive control has remained in the shadows for too long, damaging countless lives in its wake. By bringing this issue to light and fostering a comprehensive understanding of its implications, we can collectively take a step towards protecting our most vulnerable populations.

To listen to this episode of Genesis the Podcast, click here.