Nearly two-thirds of young adults in south east England have experienced coercive control from a partner, according to new research.

Coercive behaviour is defined as repeated or continued controlling behaviour towards another person and was classified by the Government as a separate offence in 2015.

Avon, in partnership with domestic violence charity Refuge, began Define the Line, a study to see how many 16 to 21-year-olds had experienced controlling behaviour in relationships.

As well as the majority of young people experiencing it, 32 per cent said the mentally abusive behaviour had prevented them from living their lives.

Of the people going through this, 84 per cent of girls think it is their fault, compared to 65 per cent of boys.

Nearly 30 per cent of girls think controlling behaviour has been normalised in the media and society in general.

Speaking about a former partner in the video, Bethany, a victim of coercive control in a relationship, said: "He didn’t even like me going to work because he thought I should be home with him.

"He even got jealous of me seeing relatives."

She added when she tried to leave him he would threaten to commit suicide.

Sheri McCoy, CEO of Avon, which just donated £2 million to victims of gender-based violence, spoke out about the silence around the issue.

She said: "The wall of silence that surrounds domestic violence is imposing and intimidating.

"However, it can be broken down."

Domestic abuse:

Will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime

Leads to, on average, two women being murdered each week and 30 men per year

Accounts for 16 per cent of all violent crime, however it is still the violent crime least likely to be reported to the police

Has more repeat victims than any other crime- on average there will have been 35 assaults before a victim calls the police

Is the single most quoted reason for becoming homeless

MP Sarah Newton, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Home Office for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism, said: "Tackling domestic abuse and all forms of violence against women and girls is a genuine priority for this government."

Of the £2 million donated globally, £250,000 will go to Refuge for front line services, as part of International Women’s Day Be Bold for Change campaign.