Valentine’s Day isn’t hearts and flowers for everyone

Sandwell Council’s Domestic Abuse Team, working with Black Country Women’s Aid, are raising awareness of abusive relationships, letting victims know that there is help available.

One in four women and one in six men experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. For them, Valentine’s Day can be one of the toughest and most triggering days of the year.

Domestic abuse isn’t always physical. Coercive control is an act or pattern or acts of threats, humiliation, assault and intimidation, as well as any other form of abuse used to harm, punish or frighten a victim. This is a criminal offence.

These controlling behaviours are designed to make a person dependent, isolating them from support, exploiting them, depriving them from support and regulating their everyday behaviour.

If you think someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, know that you can make a difference. Here is how you can help:

  • Start a conversation – don’t expect someone to open up straight away. Be patient, non-judgmental and open
  • Don’t be a bystander – organise a coffee date or meet up for lunch. Going for a walk with them might make it easier for them to open up
  • Listen without judgement – leaving an abusive relationship is hard. There are many barriers preventing someone from leaving and, to the affected individual, these can seem impossible to overcome. Your role is to listen to them and believe them.

Councillor Syeda Khatun MBE, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities, said: “Whilst many of us celebrate Valentine’s Day, for some it is just another day of living in fear.

”Love and relationships should be based on equality and respect, not violence and abuse.

“Sandwell Council works with a range of partners to help you access support. All you need to do is get in touch – you don’t have to wait for an emergency to get help.”

More domestic abuse support information is available at


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