Coercive Control

Sussex Global UK Podcast – Episode 6

Lets be clear here.  I am not saying criminal activity in relation to the coerced control is the template for legal response to the type of activity that has been directed at Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex for the past 5 years.  What I am saying is that under the basic tenet of Human Rights legislation, there are many categories of law that run parallel to what is going on with the Sussexes, and where action has been taken against people who are not considered powerful or wealthy.  Yet when it comes to people in powerful positions and who have senior professional posts in the business or legal world, or are considered as influencers in certain areas of business or politics, then the world turns a blind eye until things become so serious, or what was once hidden comes to light, the powers that be are forced to respond in some way, even if it is decades too late for the victims of those activities.

When you read about these examples, if you replace “partner, ex partner, spouse” etc with all those groups of people who have abused the Sussexes, eg the Royal Family, the tabloid press Royal Reporters, Government by their silence are complicit, keyboard warriors, the hillbilly clan headed up by the Sperm Donor – they are behaving like an ex partner who refuses to accept that the marriage is over, and are now becoming dangerously obsessed with pursuing them and putting their lives at risk.

If on the rare occasion the abusers are powerful and/or wealthy, and their victims are in a similar category, there seems to be a position taken that say to anyone caring to watch, that it is best to let them sort it out between themselves. No need for us to be interested.  It is just rich folk doing their thing. If the victim is a person of colour, then it seems it matters even less.  The view seems to be, the victim has the financial means to pay for multiple legal actions, and can move home several times in order to try and remain safe, can afford to pay for top class security teams etc etc.

Everyone knows deep down if the perpetrators were POC, it rarely takes decades for legal professionals to step in.  If the victims are poor Caucasians and their abusers are wealthy and powerful etc, no one is interested, until the abusers have long since passed on.  The basic aspect of everyone is entitled to protection under the law, seems to be pushed to one side.  The danger with that is that victims are left to suffer, and if the abuse continues for years, the cost to the individuals concerned is more than financial, and therefore the damage to the authorities and the countries concerned is not easily repaired.

Damaged children become damaged adults.  In all cases, key adults failed to recognise their need for help, and turned a blind eye. I have quoted this example previously, but in the case of USA athletics, children were being abused (physically and psychologically) over a 40 year period by one adult.  An adult in a senior position, and his activities were known by other adults, who did nothing.  The children reported incidents, and those children are now adults and this ceremony which took place in 2018 referred to 300 women who came forward. It was the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage.  Every time I view this clip I cry.

All those unheard and ignored voices asking for help   There are many many more.  There are many more abusers out there, being protected by other adults.  A few are awaiting trial, but the theme is the same.  Most people turned a blind eye to what they knew or suspected was going on.  As someone who has worked with womens groups for many years, including survivors of various forms of abuse, my antennae goes up when I feel that someone is being abused, in whatever form, and is being maligned because they are prepared to speak their truth. Another example, which is ongoing, relates to Brittany Spears.  Another situation which has been going on for over a decade, and whose voice was ignored, in favour of family members who used her money to pay for legal experts to ensure that Brittany had no voice, but the abusers continued to profit from her continual earnings for their benefit, not Brittany.

“Abusive men are just as likely to be lawyers, accountants and judges

as they are to be unemployed. It is about power and control.”

Sandra Horley CEO of Refuge.

Those of you who know my work and publications, know that I like to use academic theory and models to help show how many topics can be explained in a user friendly way.  I regard the treatment of Meghan and Harry, Meghan in particular like that of a person in a violent marriage.  The abuser continually trying to erode the self esteem of their victim, and telling them how they could be nothing without them etc., and to put fear in their minds about leaving.  When that victim manages to escape, the abuser then goes on the defensive, trying to justify their actions, and ultimately try to make life so difficult outside of the marital home that the victim returns and becomes compliant, and in fact inevitably the level of abuse is worse than before.

I have used the Kubler Ross 7 Stages of Grief Model in the past, to show how the British Royal Family, the Royal Reporters working for the tabloids, but who have an ‘invisible’ contract with the Monarchy to always give them positive press coverage, in return to access to the Royals for exclusive scoops etc. I include Government in the analogy, aristocracy and keyboard warriors in the frame.  It is a very useful model for a number of things.  Highly recommend you look it up, and also if you have time, read my article which maps categories from the model, to particular antics of the above groups.

This is a little background for new subscribers and listeners to my podcasts and articles.  Todays podcast is using the framework of Coercive Control and how it can apply to describing what has been and continues to be done against Harry and Meghan. “Experts have thus often used the non-injury model of “coercive control” to explain the dynamics of intimate partner violence. The term was first popularized in 2007 by the work of Dr. Evan Stark, who described coercive control as a pattern through which abusive partners–typically males–employ combinations of violence, intimidation, isolation, humiliation, and control”[i]   I list reference material and websites at the end of the articles, to help you on a journey of discovery of some of these topics.  I try to give you a user friendly starting point.[ii]I have done the same with this one.

Post Separation Control

  • Is a form of abuse, that a male ex partner uses to maintain power and control over a woman, long after the marriage/relationship is over. Gender can be either.  Think of all the groups I have mentioned, particularly the Royal Family, and its partners in the media, behaving as though they are trying to keep control over what Harry and Meghan do in life.  Still desperately trying to cling on to power over their actions.  The BRF never once anticipated that Harry would leave with his family.  The aim was clearly to destroy Meghan, in any way it panned out, and if she remained alive, she would get up and walk away.  No one thought that Harry would leave too.  The next step was to take away their security and to reveal their location in Canada, and then again in USA (Tyler Perry’s property).  Charles was responsible for the security leak and the details of their location, along with stopping funding early on in the 12 month transition period that the Royal family themselves insisted on having in the first place.  Charles was willing to place his own son in danger in an effort to force him home and to secure more years for the Monarchy.  They would never risk the life to the heir to the throne, but the “Spare” was expendable.  What a family. The irony of a black man, from an industry that the UK constantly malign as of no importance, stepped forward and provided security and a home for the Sussexes, and sent a private plane to collect the Sussex family from Canada and take them to the LA property, is not wasted on me.  Gives me joy every time I think about it.  God Bless Tyler Perry.  An angel on this earth.

Often when the abuser is in a position of power, the abuse is not physical – not least because of the potential for reputational damage.  The control is often “psychological and emotional terrorism”, which is harder to prove.

One example:- control tactics using the legal system to repeatedly drag women through expensive litigation, or launching a defamation campaign, in an attempt to silence or discredit the victim and to preserve the reputation of the abuser/s.

  • Think here of Meghan and her treatment by the Royal family and the media in particular. All of those tricks/tactics are clear to see, when you stand back and make comparisons with these proven academic models I am quoting and what has been happening to the Sussexes.  NB There is civil and criminal law already in place to deal with Coercive Control, and with my non legal mind, I fail to see how it can be too far a step to take, to apply the law after 5 years of abusive activity in various forms.  Never forget that Meghan had suicidal thoughts when she was pregnant with Archie.  We nearly had a 2nd death in the Royal family under questionable circumstances, and with clear evidence of various strands of activity which was put in place to drive Meghan out of the family, by any means.
  • Stonewalling, gaslighting and threats of legal action, are all part of an abusers repertoire, they employ these and other tactics to retain power and control to ensure that you are prevented from exposing them.[iii] NB  Think here of the Royal family and the media.  Remember their behaviour before the Oprah interview even came out, and they are doing the same now, about a book that is still being written and will not be published until over 12 months time.  Only people who are guilty of less than good behaviour would be worried about a tv interview yet to air, or a book yet to be published.  The two groups doing the most ‘protesting’ hiding behind other labels are the family and its media.  Speaks volumes to me, and is all part of trying to desperately cling on to the control and the narrative, using a decades old playbook which is no match for the astute minds of the Sussexes, exhausting as it must be for Harry and Meghan.  I repeat, what are legal minds doing?  What has to occur for a trigger to move to action mode?

Women’s Aid [iv]

“Controlling behaviour is designed to make a person dependant by isolating them from support, exploiting them, depriving them of independence and regulating their everyday behaviour.

  • Think here how Meghan was asked to make herself “less visible” .
  • Think here how Meghan was asked to be 50% of herself.
  • Think here how Meghan’s Passport and ID, credit cards, car keys etc were kept by HR. Which meant she would have to ask for them if needed.  They would know her every move.
  • Name removed from Archie’s Birth Certificate, only the Title remains. Harry’s full name and Title is still there.  All other Royal Wives have their name and Title on their children’s Birth Certificates – only Meghan has it had hers removed.
  • Meghan stayed in Frogmore Cottage once for 40 days without leaving it once, and still someone commented that she appeared too soon.
  • Not allowed to see friends without courtiers being in the same room. Serena Williams confirmed this detail subsequently.

Like I stated previously, let’s explore the topics of domestic abuse including Coercive Control, and harassment.  Look at financial abuse too.  My list of references are just a starting point.  There are multiple sites out there, and all will tell you that laws exist for the prosecution of the abusers, no matter who they are.

Many grassroots organisations worked hard to ensure that coercive control became a criminal offence. This has marked a huge step forward in tackling domestic abuse. Now it is important  to make sure that everyone understands what it is.

Coercive control creates invisible chains and a sense of fear that pervades all elements of a victim’s life. It works to limit their human rights by depriving them of their liberty and reducing their ability for action. Experts like Evan Stark liken coercive control to being taken hostage. As he says: “the victim becomes captive in an unreal world created by the abuser, entrapped in a world of confusion, contradiction and fear.”

An extract from the Laura Richards website.  Details contained in my reference list at the end of this article.  I can see a number of experiences of things that have been done (that we know of) to Meghan whilst on UK soil and Canada and now in the Sussexes home in Montecito.  A very useful site with lots of resource material and information.  Here is one extract:-

“A number of feminist psychologists in the 1970s identified the domestic abuse victims that they worked with as living like hostages and coined the term ‘coercive control.’

This dangerous form of abuse relies on a range of behaviours or actions that can be very subtle and nuanced. The intention is to exploit and dominate and to ultimately deprive the victim of their most basic rights and needs. Over time, the victim may lose the very essence of being, the sense of who they are, their likes and dislikes, rendering their needs and desires irrelevant – hence hostage taking and living under an enforced regime”


In the UK the Government has developed a definition of coercive and controlling behaviour.

Overview of cross-governmental definitions (Home Office, 2015)1

‘Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.’‘Coercive behaviour is a continuing act or a pattern of acts of as­sault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.’

If you look at the situation when Meghan married into the Royal family in the UK, there was no financial provision made for her.  None.  Harry was told that maybe Meghan should return to acting to bring in an income?? Meghan was sent on various royal assignments, including taking on patronages, and more than delivered in each one; travelled abroad whilst heavily pregnant with Archie at one point, and all done whilst paying for her own attire and people to help with that, though most of the time she did not have stylists on hand other than her friend Jessica.  Media continued to report on the cost of her clothing, implying that tax payers money was footing the Bill whilst knowing all that time, Meghan was paying for everything herself.  The absolute caucasity of it all.  Meghan commissioned clothes and footwear from designers in the countries she visited, all at her own expense.  Yet, when she needed medical intervention, the BRF refused stating that she was not an employee and that apart from anything else it would look bad on the Royal family. Really? It seems it was not deemed that Meghan was family either, because I am certain all other members of the family would have access to any kind of medical intervention.  As it was, a friend of Princess Diana was contacted by the Spencer family to assist Meghan.

I sincerely hope that Harry does talk about the impact of the abuse behind the gilded gates on his wife and family in his memoir publication in late 2022.  I doubt he will say very much about family members, but I am hopeful there will be a time in the future, that he talks about acts and the complicity of a number of organisations and individuals, in the now obvious effort to prevent the marriage of the Sussexes, and then having failed at that, went out of their way to try and destroy Meghan’s character, and when that failed, went out of their way to destroy her mental health.  I do however, want him to talk about the severe and traumatic impact of the cruelty of actions by BRF, usually by using other vessels to carry out the deeds.  Actions which continue now on USA soil by perpetrators based elsewhere. Not to mention the abject cruelty around the creation of Spares in the Royal family and the child protection services needed around that whole ideology.

Whilst on the subject of books written by, or in most cases, written by Royal Reporters in the style and with the content approved by whichever member of the Royal family commissioned it in the first place.  The said Royal receives favourable media coverage and the Reporter earns an extra income for their style of content. No fuss or outrage until Harry decides to write one.  His crime? He did not ask any of the Royal Reporter cabal to write it for him; no income for them, but freedom of expression for Harry who is no longer a senior working Royal.  We must not forget that the Sussexes offered to work for the Monarchy for 50% of the time, for free.  That offer was turned down. So here we are, with the Sussexes already global icons with a Foundation which has secured huge financial deals and in so doing has allowed Harry and Meghan to have self financing income streams, as well as set up and fund a wide range of humanitarian projects around the world – all in their first year of independence.  It is safe to say that their success has not gone down well, as all the key abusers wanted the Sussexes (well Harry at least) begging to be let back into the fold, as opposed to residing in a tent under a bridge somewhere.

Harrys memoir is not even published yet, but the level of outrage and vitriole is embarrassing for all those complaining.  Just to put this outrage over one book into sensible context, on Amazon alone, there are 738 UK Royal biographies alone.  There are other categories pertaining to Uk Royals.  At no point was there any outrage.  None of the Royal Reporters had anything negative to say about any of them.  True to form, however, anything that Harry or Meghan produce, they are treated like traitors.  One cant help but think, that only people who may have done undesirable things, or know about undesirable things done by others within Palace walls, would be having apoplexy about a book that has not yet been published and wont be for at least another year.  All it has done, has garnered global attention, and guaranteed even higher sales than it possibly would have achieved, purely because now even more people worldwide are beginning to speculate what on earth did actually happen behind palace walls?  As per usual, the propaganda team of the Royal family gave themselves away within hours of the announcement of this forthcoming book.  Just like they did for a whole week before the Oprah interview with the Sussexes.  95% of what the Royal Reporters were blowing gaskets over for 7 days beforehand, were not mentioned in the interview, but immediately provided further receipts for the Sussexes.  Karma in motion.

The Sussexes are living proof (Diana was not so fortunate) of what happens when anyone expresses independent thought.  Slave and Master mentality is living and breathing within the Royal Cult that UK taxpayers fund.  This has to stop.  It is like a bounty has been placed on the heads of USA citizen family and the world is watching because it involves wealthy people.  If it was a wealthy black family doing all of this, it would not be still going on now 5 years down the line.

I think that this extract relating to new legislation approved in the State of California on 29th September 2020[v] is very useful in the current climate surrounding the Sussexes.  I have to keep reminding people that I am not legally trained, but from all the research I have done over the years with mainly womens groups, and an element of personal experience, the treatment behind gilded gates, or by groups who act as Associates of the people behind those gates, who in turn have hired people themselves to carry out certain activities against the Sussexes, has gone way beyond a family asking for a family member to return back to the fold, without his wife and children.  Years down the line it is moved into a range of illegal activity and no one yet has come forward to call it what it is.  Coercive Control is one of the often unseen elements of the abuse, and harassment of the only person of colour to enter the UK Royal family.  The sheer volume of race hate inciting bile written in scores of articles every day in the UK is in itself a crime.  The Sussexes have not been afforded their basic Human Rights, and to date have had no protection under the law in terms of Human Rights legislation, at a national or international level.  After 5 years of such activity with no action taken to prevent the flow of hate and increased risk to the Sussex family, it is safe to say that only the International legal community can take the lead on this, with the conjunction of the USA.

The laws exist for a reason.  International laws exist for a reason.  If not, just disband all the international organisations who on paper have the power to intervene, or is it that they only intervene on less wealthy people’s behalf, or regimes who are abusive and who are also POC?  I have zero faith in the UK legal bodies who have chosen to protect themselves rather than take on the establishment.  If the international bodies are the same, then lets all shut up shop and go home, and let the revolution begin, and natural selection take out those who are not popular.  Let’s recreate Mad Max or The Matrix or The Hunger Games in the modern age.  Shake my head.

Ivy Barrow


PS/  I dedicate this song for all survivors of abuse.  It is one of many from Selena Gomez about surviving abuse.  This is one of my personal favourites.  The Song Title is aptly called “Rise”


Useful Links:-




California Approved a New Bill on Sept 29th 2020 including Coercive Control as part of the Domestic Violence legislation


A Little Information on this remarkable lady, Laura Richards:-

Laura Richards, BSc, MSc, MBPsS

Laura is a renowned international expert on domestic violence, stalking, sexual violence, homicide and risk assessment. After a decade of analysing violent crime at New Scotland Yard Laura became the violence adviser to the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). Trained by world leaders as a criminal behavioural analyst at the Behavioural Analysis Unit, National Centre for the Analysis of Violent Crime at the FBI and New Scotland Yard, Laura has applied her psychology degrees to analyse violent crime from a behavioural and preventative perspective. Laura has a BSc in Psychology and Sociology and an MSc in Forensic and Legal Psychology, and with a background in intelligence-led policing, has been the architect of law reform to better protect victims on six occasions.  Laura is Founder of Paladin, the world’s first National Stalking Advocacy Service. Paladin was set up following the highly successful All Party Parliamentary Stalking Law Reform Campaign spearheaded by Laura, which led to stalking becoming a criminal offence in 2012.

More recently Laura spearheaded the Domestic Violence Law Reform Campaign to criminalise coercive control. Laura helped draft the new law and the statutory guidance and developed and delivered the first training on the new law in the UK.

Dr 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 United Kingdom’s 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 Coercive Control law in the United Kingdom.  (

In the United States, Professor Stark, the world renowned expert on Coercive Control is consulted by state governments, domestic violence organizations and the media on this mostly unknown method in the United States of intimate partner abuse through controlling and psychological manipulation and terror.