West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson is supporting a new campaign to raise awareness about coercive control.

Birmingham Community Safety Partnership has launched its spring domestic violence and abuse awareness-raising campaign. The ‘This is domestic abuse’ scheme seeks to inform victims, their families and friends that coercive control is a form of domestic abuse and to raise awareness of the help available for victims.

The campaign is aimed at raising awareness of coercive control and its definition and helping women understand that a pattern of controlling or coercive behaviour is a form of domestic abuse under the Serious Crime Act 2015. The new offence closes a gap in the law around patterns of controlling or coercive behaviour in an ongoing relationship between intimate partners or family members. The offence carries a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, a fine or both. The Government’s definition also includes honour based violence, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

New posters  used in the campaign show behaviours and relationship characteristics that women may experience while being in a controlling relationship. It is hoped that this will help victims recognise what healthy relationships and love really look like, what is acceptable in relationships and seek help should they need to.

The campaign directs women to services who can provide support and assistance to victims themselves or their family and friends. Although women are the most likely victims of domestic abuse, there are also specialist services for men experiencing domestic abuse and for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans victims.

The partnership wants to empower victims and let them know about the confidential services and support available to them in Birmingham to meet all of the fears and concerns they may have, ranging from safety to practical issues.

The campaign will use a variety of media to raise awareness including advertising on pharmacy bags across the city (125 pharmacies), inside buses and trains, at station platforms, at supermarkets and within station toilets. There will also be promotion via social media platforms using #thisisdomesticabuse.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “This is an excellent campaign. Anything that empowers victims and helps them break out of the cycle of abuse gets 100% of my support.

“Tackling domestic abuse – in any form – is one of my main priorities as Police and Crime Commissioner and we must do whatever it takes to bring this hidden crime out of the shadows and tackle it head on.

“I hope this campaign helps victims realise it is never their fault and there is a support network out there to help them.”

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