Queenslanders are becoming more aware that domestic and family violence is not just physical and are coming to understand that abuse can manifest itself in many different ways, some of which continues to occur behind closed doors. Known as coercive control, it is a distinct pattern of behaviour, which research shows can, does, and will all too often, lead to homicide. The topic of coercive control is being discussed more openly and is considered to be just as heinous as physical or sexual violence.

The Queensland Government established the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Council in 2020 to deliver greater community understanding about domestic and family violence and to challenge the values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that excuse or perpetuate this abuse.

To mark the Queensland Government’s Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month, held in May each year, and its theme ‘It’s in our control to end coercive control’, the Prevention Council has an important message to share: Love ≠ Control (Love does not equal Control).

The Love ≠ Control storytelling initiative profiles ten Queenslanders who share their personal experience of domestic and family violence and coercive control, and how they accessed help and support to safely leave abusive relationships.

Watch their powerful stories below and please raise awareness to help eradicate all forms of domestic and family violence.

Watch their personal stories


Angie’s abuse started in the UK aged 18. Her husband’s cruelty and intimidation lasted 40 years. Despite crippling fear and anxiety, Angie’s daughter Jess helped her with contacting the police for protection.


Declarations of love, jealousy and isolation from family and friends were red flags for Ben. To keep himself safe from his boyfriend’s growing rage and violence, he made an escape plan with a friend.


Teenager Corin saw his dad inflicting verbal and physical abuse on his mum, controlling her movements, friendships, and finances. His school principal intervened, contacted police and the family found safety.


Dave didn’t know Hannah was a victim of coercive control. He is now a community educator and ambassador for Small Steps 4 Hannah Foundation after the homicide of Hannah and her children.


Heather’s abusive relationship made her question many things about herself. Through a strong support network, she was able to escape the relationship and regain her self-worth, happiness, and independence.


After meeting on an online app, Jade moved in quickly with her abuser. Three years later Jade was left with serious injuries, but finally told authorities about the terror she lived through.


Krystal’s movements were monitored and limited. A neighbour and hospital staff intervened after brutal violence, and she realised she no longer had to live in fear.


Lee-ann was intimidated, monitored, and isolated. After a violent physical assault, she returned to her hometown and re-established her life, career, and family connections.


After moving to Australia, Lucy was isolated, controlled and psychologically abused. In her culture, marriage is forever; however, she found safety after a violent physical assault.


Sam was manipulated and controlled by her abuser, but she was able to end the relationship before it turned to physical violence. Sam is an advocate for women with disability experiencing domestic violence.


Download the factsheet to find out more about the signs of coercive control. (PDF, 380 KB)

Visit the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Council website or email dfvcouncil@premiers.qld.gov.au

Support options

Support is available for all Queenslanders impacted by any form of domestic and family violence, including coercive control.

For free, confidential crisis support

  • DVConnect Womensline (24/7): 1800 811 811
  • DVConnect Mensline (9am to midnight, 7 days): 1800 600 636
  • Mensline Australia (24/7): 1300 78 99 78
  • Kids Helpline (24/7): 1800 55 1800

In an emergency

  • Call Triple Zero (000) and ask for Police (24/7).