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A helpful conceptual model: Social Entrapment

Using the right conceptual model is vital to capturing and responding to the risks posed by coercive control. Social Entrapment.

Using the right conceptual model is vital to capturing and responding to the risks posed by coercive control. Little girl sitting with head in her hands while large shadow of man with bottle in his hand and woman pointing to him in background

Outdated and inaccurate conceptual models reduce the likelihood of seeing the acts of control as occurring all the time and understanding the context of the victim’s behaviours as she struggles for safety, justice and accountability for herself and her children (Tolmie, et al., 2018).

Social Entrapment

A conceptual model for intimate partner violence was originally developed by James Ptacek (1999) and has the coercive tactics of perpetrators of violence as its central feature. Social Entrapment is explained as looking for, and making accommodations to understand, the unique factors that show up differently in each victim’s life and has been summarised as a model with three dimensions.

The model asks us to look at and ‘see’ the aggressor’s tactics and preferences in his abusive pattern of behaviours while also considering how systems and responders, as well as individual factors or structural inequalities (e.g. race, disability, age etc), interact with the victim’s resistance, struggle for dignity and the inequalities that impact on her capacity to escape (Tolmie, et al., 2018).

The elements of the model are:

(a) the social isolation, fear, and coercion that the predominant aggressor’s coercive and controlling behaviour creates in the victim’s life;

(b) the indifference of powerful institutions to the victim’s suffering; and

(c) the exacerbation of coercive control by the structural inequities associated with gender, class, race, and disability. (Tolmie, et al 2018).

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Understanding Coercive Control

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