This year’s Domestic Abuse Awareness Week is 14 – 20 June. The county-wide approach 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. #SurreyAgainstDA
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.
Information for Young People
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.
Help and support available across Surrey
The Surrey Domestic Abuse Partnership (SDAP) is a group of independent charities who work together across the whole of Surrey to ensure that survivors of domestic abuse are safe and to build a future where domestic abuse is not tolerated. SDAP outreach services offer an independent, confidential, listening service to anyone affected by domestic abuse and concerned friends, family members and professionals.
They are free impartial services giving practical help and emotional support, as well as providing information on a wide range of issues including housing, benefits, safety planning and the needs of children affected by domestic abuse. SDAP’s outreach services provide support to any victim of domestic abuse regardless of age, gender, sexuality or race. Find out more by visiting: Surrey Against Domestic Abuse, or call Surrey’s Domestic Abuse Helpline, provided by Your Sanctuary, on 01483 776822, or use the Your Sanctuary confidential online chat. In an emergency you should always call 999.
Keep a look out for this shop front display kindly installed by Woking Borough Council in support of Domestic Abuse Awareness Week. You can find it in Mercia Walk in Woking Town Centre
What are you up to this evening (Thursday 17 June) from 6pm? Surrey Police would love it if you could join them for Episode 2 of their weekly Surrey Police LIVE series, on their Facebook Page: Surrey Police | Facebook
With statistics suggesting that somewhere between 1/3 and 1/6 of us will experience domestic abuse in our lifetime, they’ll be talking in more detail about coercive and controlling behaviour, the forms in which it can take place, as well as the support that is available if you’re in an unhealthy relationship or are concerned for someone who is.
Surrey Police will be joined by Michelle and Fiamma – our colleagues from East Surrey Domestic Abuse Service (ESDAS) and Your Sanctuary – who, alongside the Force Lead for Domestic Abuse, Matt Barcraft-Barnes, will be answering your questions. You can start getting your question in to them now in the chat box here: