Two brothers have today given a moving account of the murder of their mother and sister, by their father.
Speaking at the Hull Domestic Abuse Conference today, Luke and Ryan Hart, founders of CoCo Awareness, spoke about decades of control which ended with the murder of their mother and sister days after the two escaped the family home.
Luke said: “Don’t look for violence, look for a controlling environment. What we lived under wasn’t a series of incidents but an environment, ever-present.
“It existed through every interaction, every rule and every moment of our lives. We couldn’t present a bruise or a broken arm but we could present a life that our father had entirely encapsulated with controlling behaviours, and that requires people to be more investigative.”
The brothers hope their experiences will encourage domestic abuse to be talked about more openly and become less of a hidden crime.
Luke and Ryan also said it is everyone’s responsibility to trust their instincts and be aware of domestic abuse, which lies in a coercive-control environment and does not have to include physical violence.
In their family’s case, their father did not use violence, but had controlled the family through isolation, dependence and financial control for decades.
Ryan said: “I would like to break down the silence that surrounds domestic abuse and challenge the behaviours, and for people to be able to say something when they see something isn’t right.
“The silence is what kept us trapped for so many years. Hopefully our involvement today will empower people to make that first step to approach somebody that they are concerned about.”
The conference, organised by Hull Community Safety Partnership, including health professionals, schools, social care and housing officers, leisure centre staff and family information service officers.
Learn more about Luke and Ryan Hart’s story and their continuing work to as White Ribbon Ambassadors and Refuge Champions here.