15th June 2021 | News in your area

Domestic Abuse Awareness Week 14- 20 June

This year’s Domestic Abuse Awareness Week is 14 – 20 June. In this video, Chief Executive Joanna Killian and Charlotte Kneer, DL, CEO of Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid , talk about the work already done and still to be done to help people across the county who may be in abusive relationships.

The county-wide approach for Domestic Abuse Awareness Week is to raise awareness of domestic abuse and the various forms it comes in, with a focus on coercive control. Messaging is targeted at those who are in unhealthy/toxic relationships whether that be those being abused or the abuser.  Young people are also being encouraged to spot the signs of unhealthy relationships 

Controlling behaviour in relationships 
Abuse isn’t always physical  

Domestic abuse and toxic relationships don’t always involve physical violence. It can be sexual, financial and emotional abuse and can happen to anyone. Sustained controlling behaviour such as regularly intimidating, bullying, criticising or threatening someone in a personal relationship, are all forms of what is called ‘coercive control’. This is a form of domestic abuse and is a criminal offence.  

What is coercive control? 

Typically one person in a personal relationship, whether it be a partner, spouse or family member, will control the other over a period of time and in ways that go largely unnoticed by friends and family. As well as the bullying and criticism, common traits of coercive control can include checking the other’s phone, making them dress in or look a certain way, wanting to know where they are and who they are seeing, restricting their money or cutting them off from friends and family. 

Who can it happen to and what support is available? 

Abuse can happen to anyone. Children and young people that are new to relationships might not know what a healthy relationship is. So it’s really important to help young people spot the signs when a relationship is unhealthy. 

What support is available? 

The LoveRespect website includes lots of helpful information for young people including a quiz to learn more about how healthy their relationship is, and advice on how to help a friend who might be spending time with someone who doesn’t treat them well. Drawtheline.uk is an online interactive platform for use on a smartphone to help young people to identify harmful, toxic and abusive behaviour in their relationships and also provides information, help and advice. 

A range of help and support is available, including general advice and confidential listening. So if you think you may be in a controlling relationship or know someone who is, we are here to help when you are ready. Visit the Surrey Against Domestic Abuse website, call Surrey’s Domestic Abuse helpline provided by Your Sanctuary on 01483 776822 or use the Your Sanctuary confidential online chat to get advice, signposting and information just as you would over the phone. In an emergency you should always call 999. 

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