A Lewisham Council commissioned film based on the child’s perspective of coercive control is set to be released on Tuesday (September 8).  

Defined as an “act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse”, coercive control is a form of domestic violence used to harm, punish, or frighten the victim. 

Timekeeper, which will be premiered on YouTube at 6.15pm, tells the story of a young boy coerced by his father into timing how long it takes his mother to do the shopping.  

Watch the trailer here.

Commissioned by the council and funded by the Home Office, the short film is based on a series of focus groups and real-life experiences of residents in the borough. 

The primary aim of the film is to create a platform for “debate and discussion” among the Lewisham workforce, with the “ultimate aim of identifying potentially vulnerable children”. 

David McCollum, joint commissioner of the early intervention children and young people directorate at the council, said: “At Lewisham we are committed to raising awareness about the serious impact that domestic abuse can have on children, and importantly highlighting the support that is available to children and victims.  

“This support will only be effective if it can reach those that need it most; and ‘Timekeeper’ is a powerful tool, alongside our developing wider training offer, to engage and support professionals and community members to understand and respond in an effective way. 

“Importantly the film is based on real life experiences of Lewisham residents; and highlights that abuse can be subtle and complex particularly encouraging discussion and challenging understanding of coercive control.” 

The film was made just before lockdown, during which domestic violence incidents surged.

Chris Godwin, the writer and director of the film and creative director at Inner Eye Productions, said: “We made this film just before lockdown, so we had no understanding of the wave of abuse cases that were coming.  

“While the film highlights how we need to be extra vigilant now more than ever, it also shows that the claustrophobic nature of abuse is a daily reality for many families, regardless of whether we are in or out of lockdown.”