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In Control: Dangerous Relationships and How They End in Murder

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In the UK, every week three women are killed by their partners. Over half the women killed by men are killed by a current or ex-partner. On average domestic abuse victims are assaulted 68 times before calling the police. There is a domestic violence epidemic happening right now, yet as a society we still turn a blind eye to it. In a culture that has normalised misogyny, we In the UK, every week three women are killed by their partners. Over half the women killed by men are killed by a current or ex-partner. On average domestic abuse victims are assaulted 68 times before calling the police. There is a domestic violence epidemic happening right now, yet as a society we still turn a blind eye to it. In a culture that has normalised misogyny, we determinedly cling to the belief that domestic violence is a private matter in which both parties bear some responsibility. Even our legal system legitimises the idea that people who hurt or kill their partners have snapped and lost control, committed a 'crime of passion'. But domestic violence has a clear pattern. Jealousy. Controlling behaviour. Stalking. Verbal abuse. A history of violence. Specialising in homicide, stalking and coercive control, internationally renowned forensic criminologist and former police officer Jane Monckton-Smith has spent decades researching domestic violence cases that have ended in homicide. From her research she developed an 8-stage timeline which has revolutionised the approach to predicting homicide in domestic abuse cases. Part case study, part social commentary and part memoir of a woman dealing with domestic homicide, In Control shows that there are clear signs when a relationship is about to turn violent - we've just been trained not to see them.


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In the UK, every week three women are killed by their partners. Over half the women killed by men are killed by a current or ex-partner. On average domestic abuse victims are assaulted 68 times before calling the police. There is a domestic violence epidemic happening right now, yet as a society we still turn a blind eye to it. In a culture that has normalised misogyny, we In the UK, every week three women are killed by their partners. Over half the women killed by men are killed by a current or ex-partner. On average domestic abuse victims are assaulted 68 times before calling the police. There is a domestic violence epidemic happening right now, yet as a society we still turn a blind eye to it. In a culture that has normalised misogyny, we determinedly cling to the belief that domestic violence is a private matter in which both parties bear some responsibility. Even our legal system legitimises the idea that people who hurt or kill their partners have snapped and lost control, committed a 'crime of passion'. But domestic violence has a clear pattern. Jealousy. Controlling behaviour. Stalking. Verbal abuse. A history of violence. Specialising in homicide, stalking and coercive control, internationally renowned forensic criminologist and former police officer Jane Monckton-Smith has spent decades researching domestic violence cases that have ended in homicide. From her research she developed an 8-stage timeline which has revolutionised the approach to predicting homicide in domestic abuse cases. Part case study, part social commentary and part memoir of a woman dealing with domestic homicide, In Control shows that there are clear signs when a relationship is about to turn violent - we've just been trained not to see them.

30 review for In Control: Dangerous Relationships and How They End in Murder

  1. 5 out of 5

    Çağla Hatice

    thank you NetGalley & Bloomsbury Publishing for this e-arc! wow. my second book of 2021 was phenomenal. this non-fiction completely hypnotized me for the 24 hours it took me to read it. especially as womxn, we all vaguely have an idea or an instinct of what the behaviors and manipulation tactics of domestic abusers look like. but seeing these eight stages lined out so neatly, it still shocked me. it was both scary to read as someone who is statistically at a higher risk of becoming a victim to do thank you NetGalley & Bloomsbury Publishing for this e-arc! wow. my second book of 2021 was phenomenal. this non-fiction completely hypnotized me for the 24 hours it took me to read it. especially as womxn, we all vaguely have an idea or an instinct of what the behaviors and manipulation tactics of domestic abusers look like. but seeing these eight stages lined out so neatly, it still shocked me. it was both scary to read as someone who is statistically at a higher risk of becoming a victim to domestic violence, but also fascinating from my perspective as a (criminal) lawyer. Monckton-Smith was incredibly successful in making her complex criminologist research accessible to a wider audience by using clear language without any jargon, using real life examples of case studies and through anecdotes from her own life. I also deeply appreciated the fact that she combined criminology with law (explaining why UK criminal law needs reform in order to better protect victims) and sociology/anthropology (explaining how contemporary Western culture and society contribute to the high number of domestic violence cases). she never pretends to be able to explain why these perpetrators end up becoming the people they are though, and she’s very frank about that. she just provides answers as to how to recognize and stop these crimes before they become homicides. honestly, this might be one of the only non-fiction books I would reread over and over again and it’s already one of my favourite books of the year. obviously, this book deals with some heavy subject matter and because Monckton-Smith uses real life examples this book definitely comes with some trigger warnings, including domestic violence, rape, murder, forced pregnancy, child abuse, emotional blackmail and manipulation, gaslighting and stalking.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Marisa

    This book is like a self-defense class

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kirstie Ellen

    TW [ violence | domestic abuse | death | coercive control | stalking ] First thoughts This was, quite simply, harrowing. A must-read for every person out there to understand what 'control' means in a relationship. Monckton Smith has put together the most eye-opening research to help understand how relationships go south and how to recognise when it's time to leave. It's shocking to realise how easy this is to apply to a relationship you've had, or relationships of your friends. The work she has do TW [ violence | domestic abuse | death | coercive control | stalking ] First thoughts This was, quite simply, harrowing. A must-read for every person out there to understand what 'control' means in a relationship. Monckton Smith has put together the most eye-opening research to help understand how relationships go south and how to recognise when it's time to leave. It's shocking to realise how easy this is to apply to a relationship you've had, or relationships of your friends. The work she has done is phenomenal. "A woman is killed by her partner or ex-partner every four days in the UK." What it’s about In Control is about how abusive relationships result in murder, to sum it up simply. It’s a fantastic piece of non-fiction by Jane Monckton Smith who is a specialist in the field of homicides and has a plethora of experience behind her. This book analyses the eight steps she has identified as the pattern and lead-up to homicide in a controlling and abusive relationship. "Historically, cultural, legal, religious and societal messages have made explicit to men in particular that control of their wife is a right..." The book focuses on improving understanding of why victims behave in ways that can seem strange to the everyday person — why don’t they just leave? Why don’t they do something? It aims to eradicate this thinking but helping us understand what is going on and why the victims need to not only be heard, but believed, in order to get them the help they need to be truly free — and permanently safe — from their abusers. "Control is devious and deceptive, and these things are often invisible." The book is written in a very matter of fact way, with a detatched tone. The author isn't trying to express emotions and has made an excellent effort to remove any bias on her behalf. It's calm, it's collected and it presents all the details of her research in a simplistic manner that is both shocking and plain to understanding. "...because controlling people, in the main, will want a rapid commitment, they may target people who they feel might give that." Why I read this This is not the usual book I read. If you know me, I tend to stick close to fantasy and don’t dally in non-fiction all that much. But something about the blunt blurb of this and the relevancy of the topic really caught my eye. I was intrigued to understand and read more about this from a level-headed, non-dramatised perspective. I love learning about new things, and I learnt so many things from this book. "More socially confident controlling people may keep family members close so that they can be monitored and even used to help control the victim." Why you should read this For women especially, this book is really important. As you read the book, you’ll see that the most likely victims of domestic abuse and homicide are women (femicide). We all do our best to navigate the world as safely as possible, but there are some patterns of behaviour that seemingly defy logic, and an expert’s opinion (such as Monckton Smith’s) is a gold mine of information on how to understand these scenarios. "Even where there may be mental illness, a history of control is relevant." This is a step-by-step guide to help you understand the eight different stages people pass through, men and women, in a controlling relationship. Monckton Smith uses examples the whole way through to demonstrate and back up her arguments. It’s a really harrowing experience to see the sheer number of examples for all types of scenarios in all types of relationships that she is able to procure. "Coercive control is frequently driven by the fears of its perpetrators, and maintained by the fears of its victims." It is something I would have hoped would be difficult to find information on (as if to believe it wasn’t so common). But this is very common behaviour, and the abuse that is discussed in this book is seen world-wide. It is disappointing and scary to realise that there are endless examples of this controlling behaviour and abuse that can be drawn upon. It really opens your eyes to the magnitude of the problem. "If we ever accept excessive jealousy and excuse or justify it, we just strengthen the control." Summary This is unlike anything else I’ve ever read or watched on this topic. It is, by far, the most useful and insightful resource I’ve ever encountered for not only understanding these circumstances and relationships, but for arming the reader to avoid such an event themselves and to keep them safe. I genuinely feel better-informed and safer having read this book, because now I know what to look for and know that saying you’re ‘crazy’ is never the right answer. "Knowledge is power." *Thank you to Bloomsbury for providing me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    I have spent a great deal of time trying to understand the relationship between abuser and abused, particularly in a partnership such a marriage, or parenthood etc. This book, for me, was a fascinating and disturbing insight into controlling behaviours, early signs, and how quickly they can escalate into something far more sinister. Jane Monckton-Smith has devoted her life to specialising in and researching domestic violence that has resulted in murder. In the present climate of the Reclaim These I have spent a great deal of time trying to understand the relationship between abuser and abused, particularly in a partnership such a marriage, or parenthood etc. This book, for me, was a fascinating and disturbing insight into controlling behaviours, early signs, and how quickly they can escalate into something far more sinister. Jane Monckton-Smith has devoted her life to specialising in and researching domestic violence that has resulted in murder. In the present climate of the Reclaim These Streets movement, those in charge should be paying far more attention to studies such as these, and the author's carefully observed 8-stage timeline as a preventative measure. Occasionally Jane Monckton-Smith's writing appears to lose a little direction and clarity; the subject matter however, clearly speaks for itself! I give this book 4 stars.

  5. 4 out of 5

    David Evans

    An important and possibly vital work in the understanding the patterns of coercive control and where it ends logically - required reading for health professionals, the police, social services and anyone who has to council people regarding difficult relationships. When a professor of Public Protection writes about their chosen area and produces guidelines that could help save many lives we should read, learn, inwardly digest... And acknowledge that we may be personally complicit in the “game” of An important and possibly vital work in the understanding the patterns of coercive control and where it ends logically - required reading for health professionals, the police, social services and anyone who has to council people regarding difficult relationships. When a professor of Public Protection writes about their chosen area and produces guidelines that could help save many lives we should read, learn, inwardly digest... And acknowledge that we may be personally complicit in the “game” of coercive control. The eight stages of the homicide timeline are described in detail and illustrated by harrowing cases from the author’s own experience. Beware the shock whirlwind romance, rapid wedding and early and frequent pregnancies. Look out for the over-organised who are putting their affairs in order. How is that even possible? As a GP I saw plenty of examples of what I thought represented coercive control by narcissistic personalities and am aware of the agonising inability I had to intervene in any sensible way that would not jeopardise the victim’s situation further. This is particularly difficult when their close support network is terrified of the perpetrator. After all, aren’t we taught that all lifestyle choices are equally valid these days? We see it in our friends’ relationships. We turn a blind eye, “That’s just John being John.” We wring our hands after the tragedies unfold, then move on.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Faichney

    I follow Professor Jane Monckton-Smith on Twitter and that is how I learned of her brilliantly conceived Homicide Timeline. I was lucky to be given early access to her forthcoming book "In Control: Dangerous Relationships And How They End In Murder". The book makes for sobering, yet vital, reading. It's one of the most important books I've ever read and I hope it finds a widespread audience. The content is accessible for all, i.e. you don't have to be an academic to read and understand it. The i I follow Professor Jane Monckton-Smith on Twitter and that is how I learned of her brilliantly conceived Homicide Timeline. I was lucky to be given early access to her forthcoming book "In Control: Dangerous Relationships And How They End In Murder". The book makes for sobering, yet vital, reading. It's one of the most important books I've ever read and I hope it finds a widespread audience. The content is accessible for all, i.e. you don't have to be an academic to read and understand it. The information, research, knowledge and professional experience documented within, coupled with various case studies, has the potential to save lives. Many, many lives. Please read it and buy a copy for someone you care about. Forewarned is forearmed. I cannot overstate the importance of this book and my gratitude to Professor Monckton-Smith for writing it. 

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emily Murphy

    It took me a while to read this book but only because I felt that it’s such an important read that I needed to pay attention! As someone who works around Domestic Violence every day I cannot recommend this book enough. Sadly you don’t need to work with DV to know how prevalent it is in our society.. but this book takes you through a timeline of stages so that people can be more informed and aware of the warning signs to look out for. It is a heavy read and there are a lot of graphic case studies It took me a while to read this book but only because I felt that it’s such an important read that I needed to pay attention! As someone who works around Domestic Violence every day I cannot recommend this book enough. Sadly you don’t need to work with DV to know how prevalent it is in our society.. but this book takes you through a timeline of stages so that people can be more informed and aware of the warning signs to look out for. It is a heavy read and there are a lot of graphic case studies explored but I’m so thankful that there are books out there like this that can make a real difference to our understanding. I don’t doubt that this book will save a lot of lives!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nina Zondag

    What a fantastic yet horrifyingly concerning book; finished in a weekend. I feel everyone should read this to be able to recognise warning signs for themselves and friends/family/colleagues. It should be required reading for judges in family court. A very comprehensive look at domestic abuse and homicide via the 8 stages of coercive control. My only gripe is how many times the words ‘coercive control’ feature in the book. This is especially noticeable in the audiobook. Doesn’t take away from how What a fantastic yet horrifyingly concerning book; finished in a weekend. I feel everyone should read this to be able to recognise warning signs for themselves and friends/family/colleagues. It should be required reading for judges in family court. A very comprehensive look at domestic abuse and homicide via the 8 stages of coercive control. My only gripe is how many times the words ‘coercive control’ feature in the book. This is especially noticeable in the audiobook. Doesn’t take away from how important this read is though!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laura Rixon

    This book is absolutely incredible, I finished it in one sitting! It’s extremely well researched and written, it includes loads of examples and includes female offenders too which is a welcome change. It is very detailed and thorough, but it’s still very easy and a joy to read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Maddie Brygel

    Just brilliant.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Linda Rowan

    I work in the field of DV, and bought this book to pad out training I had attended. everyone should read this book. The writing style is nice and easy to follow as well.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Federico Santangelo

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jodie

  14. 5 out of 5

    sharon law

  15. 4 out of 5

    morgan scouse

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mrs J

  17. 4 out of 5

    Matilda

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stocktonian

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mrs C Perrett

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Hutchins

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emily Forster

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bri

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Wilkins

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Bantin

  25. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  26. 4 out of 5

    Colin Byrne

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bee

  29. 5 out of 5

    mrs jill a phillips

  30. 5 out of 5

    DR esther m Flavell

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