Emma is the world’s leading academic expert on how coercive control harms children and mother-child relationships, and how these harms can be overcome.

Emma’s approach to coercive control is strongly anti-victim blaming. Her work is based on an understanding that victims and survivors are ordinary people who were unjustly harmed.

While recognising the full extent of the harm that abusers cause and its devastating impacts, Emma’s work values, appreciates and seeks to reinforce victims’ and survivors’ many strengths. It understands that children and young people who have a coercively controlling parent are not just witnesses. Children and young people should be supported as co-victims and co-survivors.

Service responses

Emma’s work advocates that victims and survivors should have effective responses from services. This means assistance and support that genuinely helps them to become free of the abusers’ abuse. Far too often, victims and survivors are not getting the responses they need from services.

Identifying 5 elements for Safety And Freedom From Abusers (SAFFA), Emma’s work is built around a systematic framework for how this can change.

Expert speaker and trainer

Emma has shared her expertise all over the world, delivering invited presentations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. Hopefully more countries will be added to the list soon!

An accomplished communicator, brilliantly explaining the lived experiences of victims and survivors and what we can learn from them, Emma’s talks and trainings are highly sought-after.


Emma gained her Ph.D. from the University of Nottingham in England in 2015, with a thesis titled ‘Surviving Together: Domestic Violence and MotherChild Relationships’.

While undertaking this project, Emma began to realise how much domestic violence perpetrators’ tactics of coercive control can harm the motherchild relationships of victims-survivors. She also learnt how these harms may be healed.

Emma’s work

Emma’s profile and ability to make a difference have been developed over the past decade by her work as a university teacher and researcher. Currently a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Edge Hill University in Lancashire, England, she has published many research papers on coercive control and domestic violence, including post-separation abuse.

Emma knows that coercive control can affect anyone, and her focus as a researcher is on women’s and children’s experiences.


2022 marked the arrival of Emma’s first book, Coercive Control in Children’s and Mothers’ Lives, published by Oxford University Press.

The ground-breaking insights in Emma’s book are helping professionals and victims-survivors to enhance their levels of understanding of the harms caused by perpetrators of coercive control, and to learn about effective ways of tackling this form of abuse.