Police receiving 100 reports of coercive control a month
Over 100 reports of domestic abuse involving controlling and coercive behaviour have been recorded by police in the north each month since new laws came into force in February 2022.
The PSNI have reported that they are receiving, on average, over 100 reports a month of domestic abuse with controlling and coercive behaviours.
Detective Superintendent Lindsay Fisher said: “Statistics suggest that it takes, on average, 35 incidents before a victim will come forward and report to Police. So, we know there are so many people out there who are suffering in silence.
“We will continue to raise awareness of all forms of domestic abuse and encourage reporting. Abusers in these cases are so incredibly manipulative, making their victims believe that what is happening to them is somehow their fault.
“We want to make it clear that domestic abuse, in any form, is never the victim’s fault."
The figures are being released as part of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Coercive control, which is punishable by up to 14 years’ imprisonment, has been a criminal offence since the Domestic Abuse and Civil Proceedings Act (NI) 2021, came into force in February.
To date police have arrested and charged more than 170 perpetrators of this domestic abuse offence. Abusers are now being punished for subjecting a partner or family member to controlling behaviour such as isolating them, exploiting them financially, depriving them of basic needs, humiliating, frightening or threatening them.
Police say they know that these behaviours often escalate and they are concerned there may still be people out there who don’t understand that how they are being treated at home is domestic abuse, a crime.
“Not all abuse is physical. Just because a person is not covered in bruises doesn’t mean they’re not being abused. If you’re walking on eggshells, or have no control over your own life – this is also abuse and we can help you.”
The PSNI have highlighted that domestic abuse includes threatening, controlling, coercive behaviour, violence or abuse inflicted on anyone by a partner, ex-partner or family member. It can take many different forms, including: psychological; virtual; physical; verbal; sexual; financial; emotional.
And it is not just physical. Some of the signs include: their partner puts them down in front of other people; they are constantly worried about making their partner angry; they make excuses for their partner’s behaviour; their partner is extremely jealous or possessive; they have unexplained marks or injuries; they’ve stopped spending time with friends and family; they are depressed or anxious, or you notice changes in their personality
You may be a neighbour who may have seen or heard: threatening and intimidating arguments, which may involve violent language or escalate to smashing up the furniture; arguments where the partner blames the other for their actions, saying they are ‘asking for it’ or deserve the abuse; individuals with bruising or other visible marks, which may have been caused by physical abuse.
Report by calling 101, or in an emergency call 999. If you're calling 999 for help, but too afraid to speak, dial 55 on your mobile and the operator will know that you need to be put through to police.
A 24-hour helpline is available to anyone with concerns about domestic or sexual abuse. The number to call is 0808 802 1414.