VICTIMS of domestic abuse have spoken out to help residents spot the signs of emotional abuse.

A campaign launched by charity Victims First, released a 'Don't Disappear' video today to raise awareness of coercive control and emotional abuse in relationships.

The charity supports victims of crime and abuse across the Thames Valley and some victims have shared their experiences in order to help others.

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One woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons said: "He called me a s**g and told me I flirted with people if I spoke to them. "He would stop me seeing friends and did not want me to socialise without him at all. He would verbally abuse me to have sex with him if I did not want to. He hit me, spat at me and intimidated me.

"I would say that just because they might not always be abusive or controlling. Just because they have some good qualities or some redeeming ways of being that it does not mean you aren't being abused or the relationship isn't abusive”.

Coercive control became a criminal offence in 2015 and involves an act or a series of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse by a perpetrator that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim.

Many people associate domestic abuse with physical violence by coercive control recognises emotional impact it can have as a form of abuse in a relationship.

The video follows the story of Jamie and Emma, who in their loving early stages of their relationship start to develop signs of abusive behaviour.

The campaign is aimed at younger people who may have less experiences of relationships to raise awareness of the red flags, which at the time may seem as 'acceptable behaviour'.

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Figures in the Thames Valley show over half of abusive relationships began when the victims was aged under 25.

Matthew Barber, deputy police and crime commissioner, said “The impact of coercive and controlling relationships on victims can be damaging and long term; affecting their health, wellbeing and future relationships.

Controlling, manipulative and bullying behaviours are not present in healthy relationships. These behaviours can escalate so it’s important that we continue to raise awareness of these red flags to help people recognise them and where necessary seek support.

“If anyone does feel that the behaviour they are facing in their relationship is abusive I would encourage them to contact Victims First on 0300 1234 148.”