Sarah Tatton's qualitative research project explores the developing police response to coercive and controlling behaviour (CCB) following the introduction of legislation in the Serious Crimes Act 2015. The relatively new legislation criminalizes a range of behaviours and strategies beyond physical assault which are used in intimate partner abuse (IPA), and reflects an evolving cultural acknowledgement of the harm caused by this pattern of behaviour. With a feminist lens, this work recognises the central role of the victim-survivor experience in prompting social change, tracing the genealogy of the rising counter discourse which has challenged historically dominant constructions of intimate relationship dynamics.
Semi-structured and in-depth interviews with police officers and victim-survivors, along with observations of police officers and staff undergoing CCB training, provide a detailed insight into the realities and experiences of frontline response officers in dealing with IPA. Drawing on critical discourse analysis, the project aims to examine themes within the data which reflect dominant and counter cultural discourses around IPA, and to highlight both the progress being made and the spaces where there is more work to be done in refining victim-survivor support. The aim of this PhD research is to contribute to evidence-based policing literature on an issue that dominates the day-to-day shifts of response officers.