During 3 weeks of the first lockdown the murders of 16 women and children were highlighted nationally that could potentially be linked to domestic abuse (Guardian, 15 April 2020).  This is a concerning spike when compared with the usual average figure quoted for women killed by a partner or ex-partner of 2 a week and for men of one every 2-3 weeks. 

Cases such as the murders in 2018 of Claire Hart and her daughter Charlotte by Claire’s controlling husband highlight the impact domestic abuse has on a family and that it mustn’t ever be taken lightly.  Behaviours that might seem trivial to some can quickly escalate with boundaries constantly being moved to make compliance inevitable, with the ultimate goal being about total control over someone.  Seeing them trying to leave – as with Claire and Charlotte - sometimes leads to the final and only remaining level of control available; to kill. 

Controlling behaviour can happen so slowly and so subtly that many people don’t realise it’s happening to them and wouldn’t think to call it ‘domestic abuse’ .  In addition, there are so many types of abuse, some of which are identified in the ‘What is abuse’ section of our website and most of which aren’t physical.  This is not a definitive list.  If you recognise any of the behaviours shown (or other worrying behaviour) and are concerned about yourself, a friend or relative, please consider speaking in confidence to one of the support services listed in the directory.  If you believe you or your family are in immediate danger always contact the police on 999. 

For this year’s campaign, local support services will be talking to Riviera FM about the work they do and the impact of domestic abuse and sexual violence that they see happening every day.  Tomorrow’s article will have a schedule of who is taking part and what time of the day they will be on.  There are a few ways you can listen in to Riviera FM and you can find out how on their website