From Devon & Cornwall Police:
The term domestic abuse may still carry with it connotations of violence behind closed doors between a husband and wife. It is important to recognise, as the police and support agencies in Devon and Cornwall do, that domestic abuse is not limited to physical harm and can affect anyone (not that husband and wife abuse is any less important).
There is a common factor. Controlling and coercive behaviour is present in all forms of domestic abuse.
It can be obvious or subtle and can happen suddenly or gradually. It can happen in couples, between younger and older members of the same family. It can happen regardless of class, age, race, religion, culture, disability, sexual orientation or lifestyle.
Superintendent Sharon Donald, Devon & Cornwall Police force lead for domestic abuse, said: “Domestic abuse can take many forms – physical, emotional, psychological and financial – none of which are acceptable or should be tolerated in our society.
“The harm caused to those affected by domestic abuse should never be underestimated. We will take every report seriously. Working together with our partners we will help and support anyone wishing to break free from an abusive relationship.”
Devon & Cornwall Police today releases a new animated advisory about controlling and coercive behaviour initially on police social media channels (Faecbook and Twitter). Information about where domestic abuse victims can get help will also be printed on prescription bags, supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner, which will be distributed via 60 participating pharmacies across the counties.
Alison Hernandez, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “Domestic abuse, whether that is violent or in the form of coercive and controlling behaviour, can take away someone’s self-confidence, their independence, cause anxiety and depression and huge distress to children who are exposed to it.
“The good news is that those affected by domestic abuse will be listened to and taken seriously by Devon & Cornwall Police, and regardless of whether they want a police intervention, there is a huge amount of help on offer from victim services commissioned by my office.
“It is vital that we raise awareness of these services so I am pleased to be supporting this innovative campaign.”
People should feel confident to seek help if they recognise the signs of abuse or controlling behaviour, such as being denied access to other people and therefore isolated, or being financially controlled by having access to funds restricted. Controlling behaviour may escalate into more recognisable threats, even violence.
The decision to report a crime to the police isn’t always easy and domestic abuse victims might not want to or feel able to for lots of reasons. If you feel you can’t report domestic abuse to the police you can still get help and support to help you cope and recover. There are support organisations which cover Devon and Cornwall.
For more support and advice, including how to contact support agencies, please visit www.domesticabusehelp.co.uk