CONTROLLING and coercive behaviour accounted for more than half of domestic abuse referrals in Tameside last year.
Bridges, Tameside’s domestic abuse support service, recorded a total of 1228 referrals in 2022, with emotional/psychological abuse accounting for 54%. Physical abuse accounted for 24%, financial abuse for 15% and sexual abuse for 7%.
Tameside Council is relaunching the Sitting Right With You campaign to highlight that domestic abuse is not just physical violence – as some people may think – and raise awareness of common controlling and coercive behaviours.
The campaign, which features a yellow sofa placed in different Tameside locations, aims to get people comfortable talking about domestic abuse and encourage people who are concerned for themselves or someone else to seek help. It is being featured on buses, roadside railing banners, beermats and posters in pubs, posters in community settings and colleges, social media and online and newspaper adverts to help reach as many people as possible.
Controlling what someone wears, their money, where they go, who they talk to are all just as damaging and unacceptable as physical abuse. The campaign includes messages such as ‘he checks my phone all the time’, ‘she has control over my money’, and ‘they control who I see and where I go” to prompt people to think differently about what makes a healthy relationship.
The most common type of domestic abuse is male to female, from a current or ex-partner, but people of all gender identities and ages can be perpetrators and victims. It can have a significant impact on children in the household, even if parents believe they do not witness the abusive incidents and behaviours.
Tameside Council Executive Member for population health Cllr Eleanor Wills said: “When thinking about domestic abuse, people often focus of physical violence but this accounts for far fewer cases than emotional and psychological abuse, which is just as damaging for individuals and families.
“This campaign aims to highlight that all abusive behaviours – including controlling and coercive behaviours – are totally unacceptable and that there is help and support and available. We want the whole community to get talking about this and help us reach people with the right support at the earliest opportunity.”
For information on the support available see www.tameside.gov.uk/domesticabuse or you can call Bridges 24 hour helpline on 0800 328 0967. In an emergency, you should always call 999.