Today (Tuesday, March 15, 2015) sees the launch of Humberside Police’s second phase of their yearlong domestic abuse campaign. This second phase will focus on a new ‘game-changer’ law which came into force on Tuesday, December 29th, 2015.
The new Coercive Control legislation recognises emotional and psychological abuse as a serious crime and assists police in getting cases to court.
With full support from all four local authorities, health services and charities the aim for the next few months is to raise awareness of what coercive control is and why this new law will change how people think about domestic abuse and what powers the police now have to help victims.
Before December 2015, if a person was being emotionally or psychologically abused, the police had to work within existing laws, which often didn’t fit the crime as a way of building a case of abuse. Often when no physical violence was used, it was difficult to gather evidence and build a case strong enough for it to be heard in court.
Detective Superintendent Christine Wilson, the overall manager for domestic abuse at Humberside Police said: “Mental and psychological abuse can take many forms including making of unreasonable and non-negotiable demands, stalking or surveillance and unwanted contact, destroying a partner’s other relationships and isolating her or him from friends, family members, co-workers and others, restricting daily activities, threats and intimidation, excuses, rationalisations and blame and many more.
“Last year Humberside Police dealt with 15,749 domestic abuse calls for service. We know it is still under reported and many victims and concerned family and friends keep their worries to themselves.
The reality is domestic abuse is rarely a one-off event and it tends to increase in frequency and severity overtime.
Coercive control can happen over a long period of time and at first is usually fairly subtle; having your mobile phone checked several times a day, feeling worried if you are late home from work in fear of punishment or told what to wear, who you can speak to or blamed for mistakes and misfortune completely out of your control. The abuser might use manipulation to control their partner, who is probably oblivious of the control they have over them.”
Humberside Police are committed to helping the thousands of victims in their communities looking to escape an abusive relationship, but have not got the confidence or courage to escape.
Det Supt Wilson added: “It is everyone’s responsibility to pass on their concerns of a harmful relationship to a professional, whether the person you are concerned for is a neighbour, colleague, family member or friend. You are not interfering or meddling in other people’s affairs, you could be saving a person’s life.
Domestic abuse kills and leaves a devastating trail of destruction for all those who have lost a family member to domestic abuse.
All agencies have a responsibility to spot the signs of domestic abuse and take action to safeguard victims and children. We want everyone to understand what coercive control is and pass their concerns to police or speak to your GP, domestic abuse charity or local authority run domestic abuse service.”
Humberside Police are extremely proud to have excellent working relationships with their local authority domestic abuse projects and would invite anyone wanting to know more about additional support in this area to contact any of the following:
East Riding Domestic Violence Abuse Project (DVAP) on 01482 396330,
Hull Domestic Abuse Project (DAP) 01482 318759,
It’s My Right Project for North and North East Lincolnshire 0800 1974787.
For confidential advice call the National Domestic Violence Helpline which is run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge: 0808 2000 247.
To report Domestic Abuse contact the police via 101. In an emergency call 999.