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An event designed to shine a spotlight on coercive and controlling behaviour has taken place today.

The West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion, West Mercia Police and Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service brought together officers, staff and charity organisations to broaden knowledge and understanding on domestic abuse.

The event, which marks the White Ribbon Day campaign, included two guest speakers that have been personally affected by domestic abuse. Nick Gazzard, whose daughter was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, and Luke Hart, whose mother and sister were murdered by his father, bravely shared their stories to highlight the dangers of controlling behaviour and the devastating effects it can have.

The White Ribbon campaign asks people to make the promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women. It also asks people to take responsibility in working towards a future without violence.

PCC John Campion said: “Inflicting any kind of harm, be it emotional, physical or psychological, is simply not acceptable. As Commissioner, it is a priority for me, as well as the police service and the services I have invested in, to do all we can to tackle this.

“This is a complex issue, which needs a multi-faceted approach. We need to ensure that victims and survivors are put first and that the police have the understanding and resources to address it effectively – gained through events like today. We also need to make sure that we are targeting the issue at the root by disrupting and changing behaviour and raising awareness through important campaigns like White Ribbon.”

Chief Fire Officer Nathan Travis, from Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS), said: “HWFRS is fully committed to doing all it can to help put an end to domestic violence.

“By raising awareness through this joint event, we hope that more people will recognise the signs of an abusive relationship so that those that suffer domestic violence or those that witness it can speak out and seek the appropriate help.”

West Mercia Police Detective Inspector Liz Warner said: “The White Ribbon campaign is an opportunity for West Mercia Police to come together with colleagues from Fire and Rescue and various partner agencies to hear about the reality of domestic abuse.

“It is imperative to establish how we can work together to tackle coercive and controlling behaviour. It gives us a chance to interact with colleagues that we don’t often get to meet face-to-face and share ideas. This investment in our staff will ultimately benefit the communities we serve and protect.”

Issued on: Thursday 28th November 2019