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University of Gloucestershire Professor Jane Monckton Smith releases new book

In Control

Dangerous Relationships and How They End in Murder

A landmark work that revolutionises our understanding of coercive control from a world-leading forensic criminologist.

For thirty-five years, Professor of Public Protection at the University of Gloucestershire, Jane Monckton-Smith has been investigating one of most pervasive problems women face around the world. As a former police officer, she observed at first hand the ways in which women were assessed and judged, both as victims and as professionals. Speaking with her colleagues about how coercive control should be dealt with provided a brutal education in sexual politics and sparked her decision to understand the ways violence is continually justified.

In Control is a major exploration of coercive control. Based on Jane Monckton-Smith’s ground-breaking research, this book details the Eight Stage Homicide Timeline she created that challenges the ‘crime of passion’ argument utilised for decades as a way of explaining intimate partner murder. In her role as Professor of Forensic Criminology, she examined over 400 cases of intimate partner homicide in order to build pictures of killers and what motivates them to murder their wives, partners and even children. She read medical records, investigation files, diaries, text messages, social media, letters from victims, and letters written by killers. Throughout the book, she also comes face to face with those charged with domestic murder and interviews them about their crimes. In Control reveals how coercive control can predictably and fatally escalate – and how it can be prevented at every stage, revolutionising our understanding of how coercive relationships can lead to murder.

Coercive control is often invisible, elusive or hidden – and not easily recognised in practice or understanding. Currently, two women are killed in the UK by their partners each week, three a day in the USA, and around five a day in Mexico. In 2020 in the UK the intimate partner homicide rate more than doubled after lockdown restrictions were enforced during the Covid- 19 pandemic and similar rises were noted across the globe. In Control is a timely and enlightening book, revealing how even in the 21st Century, coercive control continues to be an issue affecting millions of women worldwide.

So what can be done to tackle coercive control? In Control puts forth how and why we must overturn the traditional myths surrounding domestic violence and end all solidarity with the perpetrators – in society, in the media, in the courts and in politics.

Jane Monckton-Smith is a former police officer and internationally renowned Professor of forensic criminology. She specialises in homicide, especially intimate partner homicide. Her work also includes training police offers and other professionals in assessing threat and risk, reviewing homicides for Home Office pro- cesses, helping police with investigations and cold cases, and designing interventions to better combat homicide. This in addition to her academic research and lecturing, she also works with families bereaved through homicide.