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Coercive control- don't suffer in silence

Photo: ITV Meridian

A woman from Oxfordshire who experienced years of controlling and abusive behaviour from former partners is urging others not to suffer in silence.

The 37 year old - who wishes to remain anonymous - is backing a campaign aimed at raising awareness of what's known as 'coercive control.'

'Know this isn't Love' has been launched by Victims First - an organisation which supports victims of crime across the Thames Valley.

Watch the report by Mel Bloor:

To many, domestic abuse means physical harm, but there is another side to domestic abuse which leaves victims with invisible scars.

Wendy Walker, Victims First:

EXAMPLES OF COERCIVE CONTROL:

  • Controlling someone's finances
  • Control over their everyday life (e.g. where they go, who they see and what they can wear.)
  • Depriving someone of basic needs, such as food.

Louise was subjected to coercive control in two relationships as a teenager.

She first met her ex-boyfriend when she was a teenager and the controlling behaviour began a few months into the relationship.

'Louise,' victim:

Now in a happy and healthy relationship, Louise is urging others to be aware of early warning signs.

Do your best to kind of think through what this relationship is offering to you and know that if there's concerns at the beginning of the relationship that generally the pattern is that it will escalate in its severity and its nature and it will go on and get worse, you know you're always thinking he's just a bit stressed with work or he's just about stressed about this and I'm sure it will be better when and it very rarely is.

– Louise

Louise is now backing a new campaign launched by Victims First - an organisation which is managed by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley.

Matthew Barber, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner:

For Louise, she hopes by sharing her story, others will be able to change their lives for the better.