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Coercive control: the hidden side of domestic violence

Collective of women’s shelters for victims of domestic violence

Collective of women’s shelters for victims of domestic violence

The goal was to illustrate and demystify an unknown and complex concept to raise awareness at all levels.

Atypic was ready to support the Collective in this design project; listening and sensitivity were key components during development.

The challenge? To popularize a complex notion—coercive control manifests itself in several ways. It’s a form of invisible violence since there are never any blows. And it is related to behaviors that we unfortunately tend to trivialize in our society.

Inspired by hundreds of testimonials from victims, we created a distinctive visual identity based on illustrations. These would set the tone for all the tools that would then be created to reach the various targets of the Collective.


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Designed to evoke the inner malaise experienced by victims of coercive control and the diversity of forms it can take, this imagery also echoes the diversity of the ways that is shows up in society.

Initially, the visual identity is broken down into 5 training tools intended for socio-judicial stakeholders (lawyers, police officers, social workers). These appealed to participants and made an impression. Reminders and checklists were also developed to help stakeholders better identify coercive control in their practice.


An initial campaign for the general public was then launched during the 12 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women. This time, it targeted allies and potential victims.

Once again, the reception was more than positive. Despite its small media buying budget, the digital campaign succeeded in getting the word out about coercive control and demystifying it.



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The multiplicity of formats (animations, Instagram stickers, stories) and the diversity of content allowed the campaign to raise awareness about coercive control among more than 283,300 people.

But above all, it opened the doors for discourse, offering victims a safe virtual space to share their experiences and find support, as evidenced by the many comments and messages that were received.


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