Are you being controlled by your partner? What is coercion? Is it acceptable? What can I do?
These are just some of the questions SignHealth hopes to answer in a new hard-hitting short film.
Marie Vickers, manager of SignHealth’s domestic abuse service, DeafHope, explained why they made the film: “Often people do not realise they are being coerced or controlled. They think it’s ‘normal’. For people who know it’s wrong, they often don’t know what they can do.
“At DeafHope we support people who experience all kind of domestic abuse and coercion. People who are being coerced often live a life in fear and can be depressed. They are constantly worrying what their partner will say or do.
“For example, their partner might discourage them from seeing family or friends. Or they may control what money they have. That is coercion and is now illegal.”
Marie added, “The film is very powerful and could be upsetting for some people. But we felt it was important to really show what a coercive relationship can look like. We hope it will make more people understand what is right and wrong, and know that we are here to help.”
The film was written and directed by deaf film-maker Charlie Swinbourne, who recently won an RTS Yorkshire Writers’ award.
Charlie said, “Domestic abuse is an area that affects deaf people just as much as non-deaf people, perhaps more because of the communication barrier, which makes it harder for victims of abuse to access services that can help. This is why DeafHope is so important. With this film I’ve aimed to show different elements of coercion in as visual a way as possible, showing one deaf woman reflecting on her relationship and deciding to take steps to get help. I hope it has a big impact.”
The film was made possible by funding from Wandsworth Council.
We are running summer workshops in Wandsworth for 11–25-year-olds and they’re FREE.
25th July and 1st August
8th and 15th August
The team will be discussing topics like human rights and deaf identity issues with art, graffiti and interactive talks. It’s hard to put human rights and fun in the same sentence but the team are sure it is going to be!
Book a place now with these links:
These events are being organised by the Wandsworth Youth Service in partnership with SignHealth.
If you are concerned that your partner may have been abusive in the past then you can check.
The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (also called Clare’s Law) gives you a right to ask the police for information about your partner’s past.
Funding to make this video was provided by the People’s Postcode Lottery.
Want to know more about HIV? What is it? How can you get tested? Come along to a workshop and find out. Get your questions answered. SignHealth is running workshops in London in June and July. They will be held somewhere in Wandsworth (venue to be confirmed).
13th June 5–8pm
12th July 3–6pm
20th July 5–8pm
If you want to find out more contact
The People’s Postcode Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Our project received £19,100 from the Trust to fund a specialist DeafHope Support Worker. This grant will enable us to expand our award-winning DeafHope project to Sussex in order to support vulnerable Deaf women and children who are affected by abuse.
The People’s Postcode Trust award funding to good causes that support a better world for people and planet. They are particularly interested in funding organisations that focus on the prevention of poverty, equal rights initiatives and projects that bring together different sections of a community to bring about greater understanding.
So far the People’s Postcode Trust have raised more than £168 million for charity. Find out more about the Trust on their website.
We are delighted that the People’s Postcode Trust has chosen to support SignHealth.
On 1st February 2017 SignHealth’s domestic abuse service was featured on the BBC’s SeeHear programme.
The programme looks at why Deaf women are more likely to experience abuse and speaks to women who have been helped by DeafHope.
What is domestic abuse?
The different types of domestic abuse
What is a perpetrator?
What is a refuge?
What can I do if I’m worried about my partner?
What is the most dangerous time for survivors of domestic abuse?
Your right to information about your partner’s past.
All your support really does change lives, here is just one example…
Simone is a profoundly Deaf mother of one, who has been in an abusive relationship with her husband for some time. Simone has been trying really hard to manage the situation herself and didn’t want help, but it became too much when her young child witnessed the abuse and was also put at risk. The police were called several times. As the abuse worsened Simone, in a crisis situation, was referred to us.
Because our professional domestic abuse team are all Deaf women, Simone was able to communicate directly with them in sign language – something she was unable to do previously with the police. We were also able to help Simone to navigate the complex domestic abuse systems and through joint working between us, housing and social services, we’re delighted that Simone and her child are now in a place of safety. She has a robust support plan in place and her child is no longer at risk of being removed to foster care.
And now, with your funding, Simone has been able to start attending our ‘survivor workshops’ with other Deaf women. She is participating well, learning more about what constitutes a healthy relationship, how to stay safe and the impact abuse has on Deaf women and their children. Next month our mental health team will be organising for Simone to receive some specialist BSL therapy from SignHealth, to help her to manage her anxiety and depression caused from her abuse.
Thank you for making this possible.
To find out more about how you can support women like Simone please click here.
Sometimes the negatives outweigh the benefits and it may be better to end a relationship, sometimes you know this is the right thing to do and the time has come to do it, but other times you might be having doubts about your relationship and it can be a good idea to talk to your partner. Talking and listening may help you to both understand your feelings better. You may also find it helpful to talk to a close friend or family member who you trust.
If you decide you want to break up with someone, think about how you would like to be treated. Would you like to be told face to face, call or text? Try to be honest and tell the person gently, without being hurtful. If you’re worried your partner may get angry when you tell them, think about how you can stay safe. Maybe take someone with you or call them.
If you are ever frightened of your partner, or worried your partner is controlling (they might tell you who you can be friends with or they might control how you spend your money) then it’s really important to get help. These types of behaviour count as abuse, and usually gets worse over time.[clear-line]
These British Sign Language health clips were made by SignHealth with help and information from Brook. They also kindly supplied the pictures. If you need more information or advice, visit www.brook.org.uk
To watch more videos about relationships, visit the Relationships page on our website. If you are worried about your own relationship, please visit DeafHope.