23 Nov 2017 Last updated at 11:00

Conference raises awareness of violence

More than 100 professionals attended the second annual Violence Against Women and Girls Conference in Newport yesterday (22 November).

Delegates heard from speakers including Fiona Gwinnett, chief executive of the Island’s domestic abuse hub, Mark Coulter of MenCentric, which works with men to talk about the negative impact of gender stereotypes on boys and on effective interventions with perpetrators, and a representative from Aurora New Dawn, an innovative stalking clinic which was this year highlighted as best practice by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.
 
A highlight of the event was performance of an award winning play by the Certain Curtain Theatre Company, ’Lady in Red’. It explored the complex issues surrounding domestic abuse with a particular focus on psychological abuse and coercive control.
 
“It is really important that professionals understand the signs that someone may be in a controlling relationship so that they can provide vital support when a victim has been stripped of their confidence and independence through controlling behaviour,” said Councillor Clare Mosdell, Cabinet member for adult social care and public health.
 
Fleur Gardiner, domestic abuse partnership coordinator at the council and who organised the conference said; “The conference had a very powerful opening, when a survivor of controlling behaviour shared their personal experiences. 
 
"Another big impact was to hear how  coercive control is a gendered crime that overwhelmingly affects women - and how to spot the signs.
 
"Conferences like this are a vital as they enhance the joint working between agencies and help make the Island a safer place for everyone to live.”

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The purple ribbon signifies support for victims of domestic abuse
The purple ribbon signifies support for victims of domestic abuse
Factfile
  • A new criminal offence was introduced in December 2015 of ‘Controlling or Coercive Behaviour in an intimate or Family Relationship’.
  • Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.
  • This definition includes so called ‘honour’ based violence (HBV), female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.
 
Isle of Wight, UK