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Reports of coercive control double according to new figures

Forces across the country have launched campaigns to tackle gender-based violence.

New figures have revealed an increase in reports of domestic abuse cases including a doubling of coercive control reports.

The Office for National Statistics revealed there were 17,616 offences of coercive control recorded by police forces in the 12 months to March this year.

Reports of domestic abuse have increased by 24% and account for 20% of murder cases.

Police forces this week launched national awareness campaigns in a bid to show the public they were prioritising domestic violence and taking action against offenders.

West Yorkshire Police shared a video on social media of an offender who has reformed their behaviour talking about the impact of the conviction on their life.

The ‘It’s in your hands’ campaign is part of the international 16 Days of Action Against Domestic Violence. The aim is for aggressors to get help before the police have to get involved.

Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson said: “We do a lot of work to encourage those affected by domestic abuse to break the cycle and seek help.

“There are organisations across West Yorkshire who are completely independent of the police who help both men and women to address the root causes of their violent or controlling behaviour and change their mind-set. While they do work with people who have been arrested, it doesn’t need to get to that stage and we are encouraging people to make the call now before it gets that far,” she said.

As part of the same campaign, Police Scotland has joined forces with Glasgow Caledonian University to promote ‘Erase the Grey’ which tackles the myths about gender-based violence.

It was developed as a partnership project between students and academic staff for the university campus but Police Scotland was sufficiently impressed to turn it into a national campaign.

In the last six years alone 56 people have been murdered as a result of domestic abuse in Scotland.

Detective Chief Superintendent Lesley Boal said: “Preventing gender-based violence is our ultimate goal, but policing on its own is not the solution. Domestic homicide is an extreme form of gender-based violence but serves as an example of the serious harm which continues to occur across Scotland and which we must all collectively challenge.

DCS Boal added partnership working was critical as, although a crime, policing alone was not enough to secure convictions and support victims: “Tackling gender-based violence is the responsibility of society as a whole. Through partnership working, we want to raise awareness and understanding of gender-based violence, identify the threat and prevent harm.”

Northamptonshire Police is working with people in the hairdressing and beauty industries. The force is helping to train staff to recognise the warning signs of domestic abuse and safely refer clients to relevant organisations that can help them.

Assistant Chief Constable James Andronov, said: “Hairdressers and therapists are in a unique position to help those who may be experiencing any type of abuse, reassure them and encourage them to take the first steps to getting safe.”

North Wales police have persuaded more than 1,700 taxi drivers to join its White Ribbon campaign which is being led by PC Mike Taggart whose own mum was brutally murdered by his stepfather when he was 15.

Licenced cabs operating in six local authorities covered by the force’s area have been given a condition that they have to display a White Ribbon sticker to highlight domestic abuse. All 250 of the force’s vehicles are also carrying them.

The White Ribbon campaign is part of an international initiative established by men to end all forms of violence against women and girls.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, said: “I am overjoyed  we managed to get support from the six county councils in North Wales. Their licencing departments for enforcement clearly understand the issues and the importance of requiring their taxies to display the White Ribbon.”

He explained: “It’s basically about empowering men to not be bystanders to domestic abuse and to empower men to become ambassadors for the cause. The majority of the perpetrators are men, and if we can target the highest level of perpetrators then hopefully we can help lower the number of them which means we will have fewer victims.”

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