One in eight crimes reported to Northamptonshire Police last year were domestic abuse related, latest figures have shown.
According to figures released by the force, 48,167 crimes were recorded between January 2015 and December 2015 and 6,308 of them were related to domestic abuse.
This means 13 per cent of all crime for the past year in Northamptonshire was domestic abuse related. Three in four of these victims were women, with one in four victims of domestic abuse being men.
The figures show 82.4 per cent of the domestic abusers were men and 17.6 per cent were women.
One in four reports of domestic abuse involved alcohol, 36.4 per cent of assaults and 34.4 per cent of all rapes were domestic abuse related.
In a bid to cut this figure, Northamptonshire Police has today launched a countywide domestic abuse campaign entitled Domestic abuse is control…Turn it off.
The campaign, which will run throughout the summer, aims to highlight types of controlling behaviours that are patterns of domestic abuse and targets both men and women, who can be victims and offenders.
A victim of domestic abuse, who did not wish to be named, speaking of her experience, said that her partner wanted to know where she was all the time and that she had to account for who she spoke with.
She said he seemed to know what she did during the day even though he was at work and said she felt like she was being watched. He had full control over the finances and she had lost contact with many of her friends and family.
Through the support she received from the Sunflower Centre and the police, the victim was able to escape her ordeal and obtain a non-molestation order against her partner.
Superintendent Steve Lingley, Head of Safeguarding, said: “Domestic abuse is control. It’s about one person exerting power and control over another.
“While traditionally domestic abuse was associated with physical violence, in reality it can be more subtle, like intimidation, threats, humiliation, blackmail, types of behaviours that we call coercive control.
“The key thing is recognising these controlling behaviours as domestic abuse and taking steps to get out of that situation.
“Under the Serious Crime Act 2015, the law created a new offence of controlling or coercive behaviours in intimate or familial relationships, carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
“We hope that this campaign will help raise awareness and encourage victims of domestic abuse to come forward, but also highlight to offenders their controlling behaviours and encourage them to ‘turn it off’.”
Lucy Westley, manager at the Sunflower Centre, which offers support for victims of domestic abuse, said a large number of the people the centre supported described having to change their behaviour so as not to upset their partner, ex-partner or family member.
She said: “They stop wearing certain clothing, stop going out to places and seeing friends and family in an effort to keep someone happy. In these circumstances they are being coerced to comply with the wishes of the perpetrator and this is a method of control.
“This is a pattern of behaviour which can be very subtle and can occur over a period of time. It is sometimes hard to recognise but it is domestic abuse. If you feel you are walking on egg shells around someone you love or know of someone whose behaviour has changed we would encourage you to speak out and seek help. There are a number of support services locally that can support you.”
The campaign can be followed on the hashtag #standbyforaction.