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The new See the Signs campaign is educating young South Aussies on the red flags of coercive control

The new See the Signs campaign is educating young South Aussies on the red flags of coercive control

There are loads of early warning signs that you should be on the lookout for.

A new campaign has landed in South Australia which addresses a complex issue that affects people all over the state.

Coercive control is a pattern of behaviour, often involving non-physical forms of domestic violence and abuse, making it difficult for the person experiencing abuse to recognise it as a form of violence, as well as being difficult for other people to notice.

Friends, loved ones and co-workers might not notice the subtle hints that someone they care about is being controlled by their partner. Coercive control is insidious, and perpetrators can often engage in cycles of ‘love bombing’, before isolating and devaluing the victim-survivor, which chips away at a person’s sense of self and self-worth.

That’s why the new See the Signs initiative is so important.

The Department of Human Services’ Office for Women has dropped the campaign so that everyone will be aware of the red flags you might be missing.

Coercive control is when someone intentionally tries to control a person or make them behave in a certain way by doing or saying things that can make them feel afraid, ashamed, anxious, unsure or upset.

While some might not see coercive, controlling behaviours as particularly problematic, a serious and disturbing underbelly lies deeper than you might be aware of. In Australia, almost every domestic homicide involves coercive control. Coercive control is highly dangerous.

Things that you should watch out for include a partner making it hard for their other half to see their friends and family, always needing to know where they are and what they are doing, telling them what they can and can’t wear, or where they can and can’t go, and checking their phone, their computer and their social media.

There can also be issues if the partner’s way isn’t followed. This can include things like threatening to leak private photos or information of their partner to other people or it can be using intimidation of violence or sexual assault.

This can have huge ramifications on a person's mental health and wellbeing - including the ability to participate in daily life, school and work .

The See the Signs campaign wants people to know that if you don’t feel safe and comfortable in your relationship, are made to feel that you’re ‘going crazy’ or feel confused, then it is abuse — not love.

If you see a mate or someone you know doing things like this, then they are engaging in coercive control and it needs to be addressed. For advice on how to approach the subject to ensure everyone feels and remains safe visit seethesigns.sa.gov.au.

See the Signs will roll out several videos to raise community awareness of the red flags they might already be witnessing, experiencing or perpetrating.

Featured Image Credit: Supplied. Elva Etienne/Getty Images