Manipulative presentation techniques of coercive control offenders

What are they and how can interviewers best deal with them?

Full report


Legislation has recognised control and coercion of another as a criminal offence. In Cheshire Constabulary, officers are conducting many interviews with a view of prosecuting for coercive control. The current study aims to identify common manipulative behaviours used by coercive control suspects during investigative interviews. Developing a catalogue of the influencing techniques used by coercive control suspects will help interviewers recognise such behaviours in order to guard against their potential biasing effects.

Key findings

  • Goal of the current study was to provide interviewers with a catalogue of common influencing techniques exhibited by coercive control suspects
  • A coding guide was developed to examine the influencing techniques of coercive control suspects in a sample of 29 interviews provided by Cheshire Constabulary
  • The most common influencing techniques exhibited by suspects included: Rational Persuasion, Denial of Victim, Denial of Injury, Complete Denials, and Supplication
  • Whilst suspects used a wide range of strategies during interviews, they tended to rely mainly on a few primary techniques
  • Informing interviewers of the most commonly used influencing techniques and providing examples of such behaviours is a potential strategy to guard against biases and the influencing power of such manipulative behaviours.


Research authored by: Julie Jackson (Cheshire Constabulary), Kirk Luther, Paul J. Taylor (Lancaster University), Steven Watson (Newcastle University) and Laurence Alison (University of Liverpool)