Gender, risk assessment and coercive control: Contradictions in terms?

Barlow, Charlotte orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1362-7131 and Walklate, Sandra (2021) Gender, risk assessment and coercive control: Contradictions in terms? The British Journal of Criminology, 61 (4). pp. 887-904. ISSN 0007-0955

[thumbnail of Author Accepted Manscript]
PDF (Author Accepted Manscript) - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.


Official URL:


In December 2015, the criminal offence of coercive control was introduced in England and Wales. Whilst, in this legislation, this concept is presumed to be gender-neutral, there is widespread agreement that coercive control is gendered. Using empirical data gathered in one police force area in the South of England, this paper offers an exploration of the feasibility of the extent to which existing risk assessment practices and understandings of risk embedded within them, can incorporate the phenomenon of coercive control. The findings highlight concerns about gender-blind, incident-led (rather than process-led) approaches to assessing risk when these approaches are set against victim/survivor concerns. These concerns highlight the inherent problems embedded in the contemporary gender-blind embrace of the concept of risk as assumed in practices of risk assessment.

Repository Staff Only: item control page