10. Perpetrator tactics
Overall, perpetrator tactics have remained fairly consistent throughout lockdown and
Phases 1 to 3. Perpetrators continued to employ creative ways to coercively control their victims, including use of the Health Protection legislation and threats of infection to control their victims. Some organisations reported that, in general perpetrator behaviours and tactics had not changed significantly, however had increased in frequency and/or intensity due to the Coronavirus restrictions providing more opportunities for abuse and control to go "unobserved". Organisations continued to report coercive control behaviours, such as controlling access to food, medication, internet, phones and smart devices, and financial control, which were not specific to the Coronavirus crisis period, but which were less likely to be detected due to the ongoing restrictions and social isolation. One organisation noted this was a specific challenge for clients who were working from home with the perpetrator. There also continued to be reports of increased levels of stalking and harassment by perpetrators. Rape Crisis Scotland also noted an increase in requests for the FollowIt app during this period.
One service that supports male victims reported significant increases in perpetrators attempting to enter their service by presenting as victims of domestic abuse.
In some of these cases, the perpetrators' reasons for seeking access to the service were related to being denied child contact by their ex-partner. Staff communicated challenges relating to how these individuals could be effectively signposted and diverted once they were screened and identified as perpetrators of abuse. The service manager reported that some men were using controlling and abusive tactics towards staff, including name-calling and contacting the service repeatedly despite being diverted to mainstream services.