Manslaughter By Coercive Control: UK Activists Push For New Law

Coercive ControlBy Dec 08, 2023

An urgent call for parliament to establish a new statutory offense of manslaughter by coercive control has garnered over 10,000 signatures.

* Trigger Warning: This article discusses sensitive subject matter. Reader discretion is advised. *

This article has been updated to include additional information on a research study supporting the need for the legislation added on December 9, 2023. We strive to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information to our readers.

A parliamentary petition to create a new legal offense for coercive and controlling behavior that induces someone to take their own life has sparked a movement to make perpetrators liable for manslaughter.1

Ms. Sharon Holland of Portsmouth started the petition after her 23-year-old daughter Chloe took her own life to escape the coercive and controlling behavior of her ex-partner in March 2023.

Ms. Holland recalled the psychological oppression her daughter was subjected to: 2

“He controlled who she spoke to, what friends she had on Facebook, he controlled her phone, I would say he controlled her finances, he controlled her freedom – and he also controlled her seeing her son. Her appearance changed – she stopped wearing her fake eyelashes, her makeup, her hair was tied up, her clothes were more covered up – she just didn’t look herself.”

Prior to her death Chloe reported her ex-partner to the police. He was subsequently sentenced to 41 months in prison for the crime of coercive control. However, he was not held to account for driving Chloe to her death because there was no legislation in place to do so.

Now, her mother is fighting to change that. Ms. Holland was pleased to see so many people join her call to action:

“This momentous support further emphasizes the critical need for legislative change to address the devastating impact of coercive control. Our collective efforts bring us closer to achieving justice for victims and holding perpetrators accountable.”

Her effort is supported by Aurora New Dawn, a British domestic abuse charity, who underscored the terrible reality that coercive control induced deaths like Chloe Holland’s are not a unique phenomenon.

Coercive control serves as the context within which domestic violence occurs.3 It is a term used to describe an ongoing pattern of behavior used by one person to harm, punish, frighten, or threaten another person. It was criminalized in the UK in December 2015. Manslaughter by coercive control is most likely to occur during the devaluation phase of the abuse cycle. According to a recent study from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and the Injury Prevention Research Center (IPRC), intimate partner violence is a precursor to 6.1% of all suicides.4

For this reason, new guidelines for domestic homicide cases were put forth by the Sentencing Council on September 7, recommending the recognition of coercive control as an indicator for “higher culpability.” 5

However, the recommended guidelines apply solely to domestic homicide and do not extend to people driven to take their lives as a consequence of ongoing abuse.

Click on the link to sign the petition to call for the new legal offense of manslaughter by coercive control.  


  1. Editors. “Chloe Holland death: Coercive control law petition reaches milestone.” BBC News, December 7, 2023. Retrieved on December8, 2023 from ↩︎
  2. Seth, S. and Wapel, K. (2023) Chloe Holland death: Mum describes daughter’s coercive control battle. BBC News. Retrieved on December 8, 2023 from ↩︎
  3. Wakefield, Manya. (2021) Case Study: Active Bystander Intervention In Coercive Control Induced Suicide. Narcissistic Abuse Rehab. ↩︎
  4. Kafka, Julie M. et al. “Intimate partner violence victimization and perpetration as precursors to suicide.” SSM – Population Health, vol. 18, June 2022, 101079. Retrieved on December 8, 2023 from ↩︎
  5. Wade, C. (2023) Response to the recommendations relating to sentencing guidelines in the Domestic Homicide Sentencing Review Sentencing Council For England and Wales. Retrieved on December 7, 2023 from ↩︎

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Manya Wakefield is a recovery coach specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy and coercive trauma. Her expertise has been featured in publications such as Newsweek, Elle, Cosmopolitan, and Huffington Post. In 2019, she launched the social impact platform Narcissistic Abuse Rehab, building a global audience through human rights advocacy. The same year, she published the book ‘Are You In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship,’ which is used in domestic violence recovery groups around the world. In 2020, Manya developed The Coercive Control Legislation Global Database. She is also the host of The Narcissistic Abuse Rehab Podcast, which is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon.