Professor Evan Stark
Professor Evan Stark is a forensic social worker, author of Coercive Control (Oxford, 2007) and a lecturer who has taught at Yale and Rutgers University and held appointments at the University of Essex, Bristol University and the University of Edinburgh. Professor Stark's award-winning book was the original source of the coercive control model when the Home Office widened the definition of domestic violence and he played a major role in the consultation that led to the drafting of the new offence.
Professor Stark wrote of the Conference:
'The new offense of "domestic violence and coercive control" represents an entirely new way of responding to VAW in the UK that challenges everyone involved in ensuring justice for offenders and safety and support for victims to rethink their approaches.
For the first time since the Magna Carta guaranteed equal justice for all, violence against a partner has been recognized as a specific offense in the UK. The new offense defines partner abuse as a course of conduct rather than just as a single act and includes economic exploitation, stalking, isolation and arbitrary controls of a person's life as well as physical and sexual violence.
It acknowledges what abused women have been telling us for decades, that abuse is about independence and other basic rights and liberties, not just physical injury and so is everyone's issue, not just a problem for women to work out. Particularly if coupled with parallel initiatives such as those being undertaken in Wales and Scotland, the new offense has the potential to sharply reduce serious and fatal partner assaults and to greatly enhance the present and future prospects of the tens of thousands of women and children who are the primary targets of domestic violence and coercive control.
But rolling out the new law will not be easy.
To do so effectively, there must be the same commitment to protect our citizens from subordination and abuse in their homes and relationships as we have to protect our citizens from oppression abroad. And there must be "champions," professionals and practitioners who step forward to take the lead in facilitating change.
Developing this commitment must begin now, with dialogue about how each professional and practitioner is affected by the new law and the types of collaborations in our villages and towns that can support the new and improved response.
The Conference on Coercive Control is an opening salvo in this much needed dialogue and a great way to open Domestic Violence Month.'
Coercive Control is available on Amazon both in paperback and Kindle versions.