Is This Coercive Control
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Is This Coercive Control: Who is BBC presenter Ellie Flynn?

The documentary investigates people's attitudes to abusive relationships

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Is This Coercive Control is a new documentary on BBC3 that tests two groups of young people to see if they understand what constitutes coercive control in a relationship.

Airing on Tuesday (October 27), the programme – hosted by presenter Ellie Flynn – sees 10 men and 10 woman aged 18 to 30 cut off from the outside world and shown a dramatised film of an abusive relationship.

Is This Coercive Control airs next week on BBC3 (Credit: BBC / John O’Kane)

What is coercive control?

According to Womensaid.org, coercive control is defined as “an 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”.

Read more: Duchess of Cornwall Camilla praised for raising awareness of domestic abuse amidst lockdown 

It also says: “This controlling behaviour is designed to make a person dependent by isolating them from support, exploiting them, depriving them of independence and regulating their everyday behaviour.”

Presenter Ellie Flynn (second left) with some of the participants (Credit: BBC / John O’Kane)

What happens in the BBC3 documentary?

In the documentary, those involved first watch the drama in two groups, men and women.

During the early scenes, they discuss what they see and debate how serious it is. However, they initially struggle to agree on what constitutes abuse and what doesn’t.

There’s a clear divide here.

Because of this, presenter Ellie says at one point in the BBC documentary: “There’s a clear divide here between people who think that Alex is to blame for Rachael’s deterioration and those who don’t.”

Later, the groups come together to discuss the story, which eventually moves to court.

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Who is Ellie Flynn?

Ellie Flynn, who hosts Is This Coercive Control, is a presenter and journalist.

She has made various documentaries for BBC3. They include Nudes4Sale, in which she investigated how people all over the world are making money from selling nude pictures and videos of themselves.

Her first series for BBC3 was Ellie Undercover. It saw her work to expose injustices against other young people in the UK.

Read more: Victoria Derbyshire on Panorama: Viewers thank newsreader for domestic abuse documentary

Ellie has also made short films on subjects such as equal pay for The One Show.

Ellie’s CV includes short investigative films for The One Show (Credit: BBC / John O’Kane)

What does the law say about coercive control?

The Crown Prosecution Service says on its website: “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.”

Time magazine reported that England and Wales, in 2015, became the first countries to criminalise such behaviour.

The law change made coercive control punishable by up to five years in prison.

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