YOUNG people and youth workers from Birkenhead's Hive Youth zone are backing a campaign which raises awareness of domestic abuse.

The #ItsNeverOk campaign, run by Wirral's Domestic Abuse Alliance, is using the Valentine's Day weekend to draw attention to the issue of coercive control - an act or pattern of acts which include assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse used to harm, punish, or frighten the victim.

#ItsNeverOk is targeted at young people in Wirral aged 14-21, with the aim of highlighting the subtle nature of controlling behaviour.

The online campaign will run from tomorrow (Valentine's Day) until Sunday via Wirral Council and The Hive's Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter accounts.

Cllr Paul Stuart, chair of Wirral Domestic Abuse Alliance said: "We have been running the #ItsNeverOk campaign since 2018 focusing on various issues around domestic abuse.

"Over the Valentine’s Day weekend we wanted to raise awareness of coercive control to young people in Wirral.

"Coercive and controlling behaviours have existed for years, but the laws making them illegal only came into effect a number of years ago.

"Our domestic abuse partners and I want to make residents aware of the laws around coercive control as well as where they can access support.

"It's great to have The Hive on board enabling us to share these messages across all age groups."

The spotlight on coercive control comes after figures from Merseyside Police showed that recorded rates of coercive and controlling behaviour in the borough rose from just 10 reports in 2016 to 106 in 2018 – a rise of more than 1000%.

While authorities put the rise down to increased reporting rates and victim awareness of new laws around coercive control, which came into being in 2015, the domestic abuse alliance believes that more people need to be aware of their rights when it comes to coercion and control – especially young people.

Rachel Markey, a youth worker at the Hive, works with young people from all backgrounds and has led projects about confidence and self-esteem, body image and social media and, of course, healthy relationships.

Supporting the campaign, she said: "The #ItsNeverOk campaign is in line with the values we try to foster here at the Hive.

"We're not about spoon-feeding to our young people - they're too headstrong for that!

"But we do understand that growing up and building relationships is different for young people today than it was, even 10 years ago."

Last year, Rachel ran a course called 'Enduring Love' which looked specifically at the issues that young people face in navigating relationships in a largely digital world.

"Social media, whatsapp, instant messaging – it's everywhere and it's all the time.

"We think the campaign may be quite eye-opening for many young people, and adults too.

"It's showing us all that, just because someone claims to 'love' you, it doesn't give them the right to control or monitor you."

Whilst sharing the campaign on their social media channels the Hive, which provides sports/leisure facilities and holistic support to more than 3,500 members across Wirral, will also be running a dedicated ‘All you need is (healthy) Love’ drop-in session at their Re-Invent Salon, tomorrow, tackling issues around unhealthy relationships for young people.

It is open to Hive senior members age 13–19. To attend and become a member of The Hive, sign-up online at or go to The Hive reception.

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts including, but not limited to:

• Isolating the victim from sources of support

• Exploiting the victim's resources and capacities for personal gain

• Depriving the victim of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape

• Regulating the victim's everyday behaviour

• If you've been the victim of domestic abuse, or are concerned for someone who is, visit for information about the local resources and services available.