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Hundreds attend conference to mark International Women's Day

This year, the Safer Poole Partnership in association with Bournemouth University, and supported by AFC Bournemouth will mark International Women's Day with a conference on the theme of coercive control and domestic abuse. 

The event, which is now close to selling out, will take place from 9.30am – 1.30pm on Monday 20 March at the Lighthouse, Poole. 

The conference will explore different aspects of domestic abuse, with a particular focus on coercive control. This pattern of behaviour does not always include physical violence, but instead seeks to take away the victim's liberty or freedom and to strip away their sense of self.

Guest speakers include Professor Evan Stark, a forensic social worker, author and lecturer who has played a major role in assisting the Home Office in widening the legal definition of domestic violence to include the new offence of coercive control. Also appearing is Nick Gazzard, whose daughter Hollie was brutally murdered by her ex-boyfriend aged just 20, and who will be speaking about coercive control and, in particular, how this behaviour presented itself in Hollie’s relationship. 

Attendees will also be treated to a performance by nationally-renowned Certain Curtain Theatre Company, who will be bringing moving domestic violence drama 'Lady in Red’ to the stage.

Community Safety Partnership Manager, Anthi Minhinnick, said: “We’re so pleased by the response to this event, which has already been rescheduled to allow more people to attend as demand was so high – over 600 tickets have already been booked. It will be a great opportunity for those working in front-line services to refresh their knowledge and improve their practices to ensure that victims get the best possible support.” 

Tickets are free of charge and are available on a first come, first served basis until Monday 13 March.

Book a ticket for the conference on 20 March 

For further information please contact Rhianon Greenslade at

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