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Help to spot warning signs - domestic abuse survivor launches new appeal

A domestic abuse survivor has launched a new campaign aimed at helping people to recognise the warning signs.

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Campaigner Sam Billingham is raising awareness of controlling behaviour in December

Sam Billingham who founded the SODA (Survivors of Domestic Abuse) wants to reach men and women who may not realise they are a victim.

Throughout December, the 40-year-old will be raising awareness of raise awareness of coercive control and controlling behaviour through her More Than A Bruise (MTAB) campaign.

"Domestic abuse doesn't even start physically, yet people only identify themselves as a victim when they are hit.

"The abuse has been happening long before that point; some victims aren't even physically abused.

"Victims are broken down psychologically, they are controlled completely, moulded and manipulated without abusers laying a finger on their victim".

Sam, who lives in Quarry Bank, suffered three years of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her former partner before moving out of the home they shared to start a new life with her daughter Tegan.

Safe haven

Later she set up SODA because she wanted to help others who were going through similar experiences.

Her online support group has members from across the country and offers a safe haven where people can swap stories and get advice.

MTAB has been supported by businesses, celebrities and survivors who have never spoken about their experiences before.

During December images and quotes will be shared on Sam's social media accounts - sammieb1980 on Twitter, sbillingham1980 on Instagram and Sammieb1980 on the SODA Facebook page - to raise awareness.

This year, Sam has seen an increase in the number of people making contact with her via social media and her online support group.

"My concern is that during Covid and now the second lockdown, there are many people who are in abusive relationships without realising it.

"The aim of the MTAB campaign is to raise vital awareness, in the hope that victims identify the warning signs sooner rather than later," she said.

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