A NEW Crime Stoppers podcast explores how coercive control is changing the way we look at traditional family violence.

Crime Stoppers Victoria has launched a powerful new podcast, Coercive control and the changing face of family violence.

Featuring Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Family Violence Command, Lauren Callaway, the podcast explores different forms of family violence in a bid to help people understand the dangers of coercive control and gaslighting.

A.C. Callaway takes the listener through the challenges of navigating these increasingly complex issues which are often hard to identify or even understand. The podcast aims to educate and empower those who may be in a toxic or controlling relationship to get out safely.

Family violence has continued to rise in recent years, with data from the Crime Statistics Agency showing an increase of 1.8 per cent in Victoria over the past year to September 2023.

A.C. Callaway said coercive control was used by perpetrators in relationships to undermine someone’s self-worth and to coerce them into doing what they want them to do.

It can often present in may different forms such as, “Controlling the household finances, determining every aspect of a victim’s life from what they can wear, to where they can work or whether they can work, what meals are to be served and who they can see”, she said.

“Not one of those things would be described as traditional physical family violence, but together they create a pattern that undermines a person’s ability to feel confident about themselves.”

During the podcast, A.C. Callaway explains the difficulties of walking away from such relationships and how technology is being used by perpetrators to ensure they can continue controlling their partners no matter where they are.

“We’re starting to see trends of perpetrators being a little bit more subtle, a little bit more abusive in the background, through the use of technology-facilitated abuse or surveillance techniques,” she said.

“That includes the installation of software on a victim survivor’s phone or devices, accessing information that they have stored on their phone or programs that they use, stalking behaviours or the ability to track from afar.

“Whatever way that the perpetrator can show the victim survivor that you may have left me, but I can still get a message to you or have some influence over your life, they will do it.”

Crime Stoppers Victoria Chief Executive, Stella Smith, said the podcast was an important step towards educating the community on the complex nature of coercive control.

“It is important for everyone to learn more about the signs of this often-misunderstood form of family violence,” she said.

“Emotional abuse is often less acknowledged than physical violence, but we believe everyone has a responsibility to know the signs to help their loved ones before it is too late.”

The podcast speaks about a variety of topics including gaslighting, technology and what to do if you discover you or a loved one is in a controlling relationship.

It also discusses others who have suffered from coercive control and how someone can escape such a challenging situation.

To listen to ‘Coercive control and the changing face of family violence’, search for Crime Stoppers Victoria on your favourite podcast app, or visit

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, you can call 1800 737 732 or visit for support.

Alternatively, you can call Safe Steps on 1800 015 188 or visit, or always call Triple Zero in an emergency.