Cut Your Strings - the making

The Cut Your Strings campaign was made in collaboration with Bournemouth University, the Dorset High Sheriff John Young, Dorset Police, the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Wessex Crown Prosecution Service and Safer Poole Partnership victim support services.

It was also supported by the members of the Dorset Criminal Justice Board (DCJB) and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

You can read what they said about the project further below.

Bournemouth University students were asked by the Dorset High Sheriff, John Young, to create a short animated film to help raise awareness of what constitutes controlling and coercive behaviour.

The closing information on the video was voiced by actress Louiza Patikas, who played Helen Titchener within a domestic abuse storyline in The Archers radio soap opera.

Current Bournemouth University students or graduates were responsible for all other aspects of production, including producing the animation, writing the scripts, composing the music and conducting the voice acting for the characters. 

Hear more about the making of the animations in the video below:

Comments from those involved in the project:

Dorset High Sheriff John Young said: "I chose domestic abuse as the subject for the legal lecture this year, because having sat as a magistrate in Dorset since the 1980s, I have seen the treatment by the law enforcement agencies of this behaviour change from being ‘a domestic’, and therefore something to be left well alone, to where we are now which includes the non-violent offence of controlling and coercive behaviour.

"Bournemouth University's Faculty of Media and Communication and digital animators in particular, were asked to make a short film illustrating the characteristics of the crime, with the full support of Dorset Police, Wessex Crown Prosecution Service and victim support agencies.

"The aim is to raise public awareness. Full credit goes to the film making and advisory team who have worked tirelessly on the project which has had the full support, from the start, of HRH Duchess of Cornwall, the Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner, the Safer Poole Partnership and the members of the Dorset Criminal Justice Board (DCJB)."

Bournemouth University’s Head of Regional Community Partnerships Ian Jones said: "This project provides an ideal opportunity for BU students to work with a number of external partners to explore the issue of controlling and coercive behaviour. I am really pleased to see how the project has brought BU and the wider community together which shows our commitment to equality and diversity.”


Chair of the DCJB, Deputy Chief Constable James Vaughan said: “Controlling and coercive behaviour can cause significant harm to victims and their children. It is a priority for all of the DCJB members to support victims of any form of domestic abuse, encourage the reporting of these crimes and work to bring those who inflict abuse to justice. Perpetrators need to know that reports of this sort of abuse will be pursued and investigated.

“The DCJB has supported this awareness raising campaign and the development of the animated video with the aim of working to ensure that victims of controlling and coercive behaviour know that they do not need to suffer and be subjected to sustained patterns of abuse, which can lead to total control of their lives by the perpetrator. There is help and support available and I urge anyone who is affected by controlling and coercive behaviour, or any other abuse to seek help and report it.”

Dorset PCC Martyn Underhill said: “I am delighted to be supporting the ‘Cut Your Strings’ campaign. Coercive and controlling behaviour sees victims become captives in a world created by their abusers, a world ruled by contradiction, isolation and fear, so raising awareness of this type of criminal behaviour is incredibly important.

“One of the biggest issues with this new offence is explaining the offending behaviour so victims can realise they are suffering abuse. We also need to demonstrate to victims that coercive and controlling behaviour is not ok. This campaign achieves both.”

CPS Wessex Chief Crown Prosecutor, Joanne Jakymec said: “Where there is evidence of controlling and coercive behaviour, our prosecutors carefully consider our legal guidance and policy and prosecute cases in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

“CPS Wessex successfully prosecuted 84.1 per cent of domestic abuse cases in 2016-17, which included cases where there was evidence of controlling and coercive behaviour. We take these cases very seriously and we fully support anyone experiencing this sort of abuse from their partner to have the confidence to come forward.

“We have specially trained domestic abuse prosecutors and we work closely with our criminal justice partners to ensure that victims are supported throughout any prosecution.”

Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Manager for the Safer Poole Partnership Victim Support Services, Lisa Dowry said:

"Working with victims of domestic abuse every day, I see the devastating effects that controlling and coercive behaviour can have on a person and their children. It really does destroy lives as people feel constantly on edge, trying to stay within the controls of their partner.

"The Safer Poole Partnership is delighted to be involved in this project as it is important to raise awareness of the issue and encourage people to come forward for support."