Home In focus Can you spot the signs of controlling behaviour?
Cllr Shelley Powell, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods for Council, Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing for Sefton Council, Emily Spurrell, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside, Mark Thomas, Group Manager, Prevention, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service and Matthew Ashton, Director of Public Health for Knowsley and Sefton Councils

Can you spot the signs of controlling behaviour?

by Gemma Melling

Controlling money, always criticising and being purposely isolated from friends and family are just some of the examples being highlighted as ‘coercive control’ in a new campaign on domestic abuse to be launched across Knowsley and Sefton.

‘Escape the Control’, which is being run jointly by Knowsley and Sefton Councils, aims to help people understand how extreme controlling behaviour is Domestic Abuse and what signs to look out for, if concerned about friends or family.

Coercive control is an act, or a pattern of acts such as threats, humiliation and intimidation that is used to punish or frighten the victim. This can include things like controlling where they go and what they do, or exaggerated expressions of love such as they ‘can’t live without you’. In 2015, coercive control became a crime in England and Wales, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine.

Posters and leaflets explaining the signs to look out for will be available from next week in GP and Health Centres, Leisure Centres, Dentists, Hairdressers and many more everyday locations where victims and those worried about others can access them without having to go through official channels.

‘Escape the Control’ will also be featured across buses, taxis and fire engines in Knowsley and Sefton directing people to more information on the Escape the Control website.

Councillor Shelley Powell, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods for Knowsley Borough Council says:

“Insight from Knowsley and Sefton indicates that although anyone can experience domestic abuse irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation, the majority of cases are amongst women under 35. We need to ensure that people understand that extreme controlling behaviour such as telling what you can and can’t eat, or what you can or can’t wear, is domestic abuse and where they can find more information and support.”

Domestic Abuse is an issue which affects 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men, accounting for 16% of all violent crime, with more repeat victims than any other crime. (British Crime Survey).

More information about the Escape the Control Campaign, including stories from people who have lived through it, is available on their website or you can follow the campaign on Facebook and or Twitter, using the hashtag #escapethecontrol.