Nine signs someone is being controlled – and one thing you should never say | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

An expert has revealed the tell-tale signs of coercive control and what not to say to a friend who is being manipulated. Since 2015 controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship has been officially criminalised.

But there are concerns from charities and experts a lack of awareness over what constitutes controlling behaviour is putting women in greater danger. Sarah Davidge, head of research and evaluation at Women’s Aid, said: “There are many signs and examples of coercive control, and while every situation is unique, there are some common signs that we see occur time and time again.

“Some of these include an abuser isolating you from friends and family and depriving you of basic needs like food. Another common sign is a partner monitoring your time and movements, often with the use of spyware or online tools.

“An abuser is also likely to put you down and erode your confidence by humiliating, degrading and dehumanising you.”

Sarah added: “If you find yourself experiencing coercive control in a relationship, remember – you are not alone, Women’s Aid is here to help you. If you’re not sure if your relationship is healthy or you’re worried about a friend or family member, we’re here for help and support.”

Sarah said anyone who believes they might be the victim of coercive or controlling behaviour should make their safety the number one priority. “Once you’ve made the decision to leave, remember – your safety is important, so plan your exit carefully,” Sarah said.

“Plan to leave at a time when you know your partner won’t be around. Try and take everything you will need with you, for example important documents relating to you and your children. If possible, it is a good idea to set aside a small amount of money, or even open a separate bank account.

A common question Women’s Aid get asked is what people should say to someone who they think is being coerced and control. Sarah said: “It is important to use supportive language, so instead of saying ‘if I were you, I’d leave’, show that you understand the barriers that she might be facing.

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