We’re all familiar with domestic violence and physical or verbal abuse but controlling and coercive behaviour can be more difficult to spot.

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It often begins quite subtly and can seem like someone genuinely cares for you but all too often it can turn to a situation where a victim has no control over their own lives and may begin living in fear of someone with nowhere to turn.

There are signs to spot and things that can be done to both give help and get help.

Here’s some signs to look out for:

  • isolating you from your friends and family
  • controlling how much money you have and how you spend it
  • repeatedly putting you down, calling you names or telling you that you are worthless
  • monitoring your activities and your movements
  • threatening to harm or kill you or your child
  • threatening to publish information about you or to report you to the police or the authorities
  • damaging your property or household goods
  • forcing you to take part in criminal activity or child abuse
  • isolating you from sources of support

It also includes behaviour such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.

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There is help available and anyone in need of support or worried about someone who might needs support can contact LiveFearFree Wales on 0808 80 10 800, visit their website at to text or live chat for support.  The LiveFear Free website is enabled with “safe exit” links for anyone who fears their browsing history is being checked or need to exit the screen quickly.

It’s also a criminal offence if:

  • The perpetrator repeatedly or continuously engages in behaviour towards the victim that is controlling or coercive; and
  • At the time of the behaviour, the perpetrator and the victim are personally connected; and
  • The behaviour has a serious effect on the victim; and
  • The perpetrator knows or ought to know that the behaviour will have a serious effect on the victim.

Kerry experienced a coercive relationship for several years but bravely found the strength to leave her relationship, seek help and is rebuilding her life with her children.