For many people, Christmas is not a time of joy, but one of fear. Each year there is a dramatic increase in reported instances of domestic violence and abuse over the Christmas period.
Most people are aware of what a violent relationship looks like, but coercive control and emotional abuse is harder to spot, for both the victims and the victims’ friends and family. Emotional abuse is just as dangerous as physical abuse, especially when the victim wants to leave.
The Crown Prosecution Service defines coercive and controlling behaviour as this:
“Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.
Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.”
If you are worried about your own relationship or that of a friend or family member, then you need to be extra observant over Christmas. Time off work, financial pressures, more alcohol, spending more time in the same house all exasperate existing issues. Here are some resources that can help:
If you believe that you or someone you know is in danger, then do not hesitate to call 999. Domestic crimes are as serious as nondomestic.
101 is the number to use to speak to the police if the situation is not urgent, but you wish to report your concerns.
Clare’s Law gives you or a concerned third party the right to find out if a current partner has been abusive in the past. Abusive people often show a pattern of behaviour. If records show that someone has been abusive in the past and someone new could be at risk, the police will share that information with you and give you advice.
If you are in South Wales, then you can contact us for legal advice 02921 679 333
This is a national helpline in Wales for victims. Call or email 0808 8010 800 firstname.lastname@example.org
Call 02920 541 551
Help for men in Wales. Call 0808 801 0321
Help for children. Call 0800 1111