More than 200 people attended a conference jointly arranged by the Hollie Gazzard Trust and Sophie Jarrett, the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence coordinator for the county, on understanding coercive and controlling behaviour. The conference was funded by the PCC and was held to help professionals provide the best possible support to the victims of these appalling crimes.
The conference, held during the 16 days of action against domestic abuse and violence, included a range of expert speakers on the subject that included:
Rachel Horman – Solicitor and Head of Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Forced Marriage for Watson Ramsbottom Ltd, Lancashire
Shonagh Dillion – CEO of support service Aurora New Dawn in Hampshire
Nick Gazzard – Chairman of the Hollie Gazzard Trust
Julie Etchingham – ITN presenter and Patron of the Hollie Gazzard Trust
Sally Morrissey – Manager GDASS
Simon Atkinson – Head of Public Protection Unit Gloucestershire Police
The audience heard some disturbing accounts from people who had unfortunately experienced coercive behaviour – or from their families in the terrible cases where the victims had lost their lives. This included our own Nick Gazzard, the father of Hollie who now works for the Trust in her name that seeks to spare other families the heartbreak his family must endure.
Nick said “We’re hopefully getting the message across and helping people understand coercive control. It’s a new concept in terms of domestic abuse. It’s not just physical – it’s emotional, psychological, sexual and financial.”
Those who attended the conference found it an eye opening and educational experience. One delegate, a specialist safeguarding nurse said ‘Thank you so much for providing such a fantastic learning event yesterday, the day was well organised, excellent speakers and I got so much out of it.
Another said ‘I wanted to say thank you for putting such an informative well rounded conference at Hatton Court yesterday. I believe conferences are a stepping stone for further developments and ways to link/network with other people within this field to bring about change’.
A police delegate said ’The conference showed all delegates that there is much to can learn from one other to make Gloucestershire a county where coercive control is recognised and victims supported, not least by the police. Only by doing this will others have the confidence to trust us to protect them and bring offenders to justice’.