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New campaign in Bucks to spot signs of abuse in relationships

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Published by Mix96 News at 1:46pm 20th February 2019. (Updated at 2:21pm 20th February 2019)

Controlling finances and tracking mobile phones are just some of the signs of abuse in relationships and a new campaign has launched in Buckinghamshire to spot these warnings. 

Victims First has launched the campaign 'Know this isn't Love' in Bucks, Berks & Oxfordshire.

It focuses on the early warning signs of controlling behaviour and emotional abuse and helps victims identify potential warning signs within their own relationships.

Although many people associate domestic abuse with physical violence, coercive control recognises the damaging impact of other forms of abuse in relationships as well.

Some examples of this type of abuse include:

  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Depriving someone of basic needs, such as food
  • Monitoring their time and activities
  • Taking control over aspects of their everyday life, such as where they can go, who they can see, what they can wear and when they can sleep
  • Repeatedly putting them down, such as saying 'you're worthless'
  • Humiliating, degrading or dehumanising someone
  • Controlling their finances
  • Making threats or intimidating

The campaign focuses on various aspects of emotional abuse and controlling behaviour and includes nine examples of different behaviours people may experience. These include isolation, manipulation, threats and control. 

Victims First recently surveyed victims of coercive control across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and had 670 people respond, describing 811 relationships.

Key findings included:

  • A third of people who responded to our survey have been in more than one abusive relationship
  • Half of the abusive relationships began when the victim was under the age of 25
  • 45% of people who responded to our survey were in the abusive relationship for more than 10 years

Victims First is managed by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley.

Matthew Barber, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner said:

"Controlling and emotional abusive relationships have an extremely damaging impact on victims' health and wellbeing. Victims are unable to live their lives to the full and it can slowly erode their confidence and self-belief. Due to the psychological abuse they may be living in constant fear and uncertainty, feeling watched and controlled at all times, resulting in mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

"The primary aim of the Know this isn't Love campaign is to help people experiencing abuse, some who may be in an early stages of a relationship, to recognise controlling and abusive behaviours and encourage them to seek help.

"This type of abuse is present across society and can impact both male and females. It's important we recognise and acknowledge it and not keep it behind closed doors.
"If anyone does feel that the behaviour they are facing in their relationship is abusive I would encourage them to contact Victims First on 0300 1234 148 for support."

Wendy Walker from Victims First said:

"Abusive behaviour in a relationship is not only physical violence, it can be isolating you from friends and family, monitoring your time or behaviour, threats or verbal abuse, putting you down or controlling what you do or wear.

"Victims often describe it as feeling like they are walking on egg shells, never knowing what behaviour to expect. This can create an enormous sense of anxiety. It is also not uncommon for people experiencing this type of abuse to be left confused and not sure what is happening and whether it is abuse. Abusers will often blame the victim and use a psychological technique called gaslighting to manipulate the victim into doubting their sanity.

"If anyone needs help then Victims First is here for you. We know it can be hard to describe what you have been experiencing but if you contact us we will listen to you and we will work with you to get you some support."

To speak to a member of the Victims First team and to receive support please call 0300 1234 148. or make a referral for support online at here.

 

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