A YOUNG author has expressed her concern at a lack of education about abusive relationships.

Emily Merrill, 21, will release her debut novel ‘Mine’ next week, which is a fiction-based book which she hopes will raise the awareness of 'coercive control' for university students.

Emily, who lives in Bootham, said: “Its terrifyingly easy for young people to get into mentally and physically dangerous relationships.

“No-one in education is telling young men and women what coercive control is or what it looks like.”

Coercive control is an act of assault, threats, humiliation or intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten a victim.

Emily feels that women are particularly vulnerable to that sort of relationship during their university years as for many, it’s their first time living away from home.

The young author is determined to get more young people talking about the dangers.

She said: “Isolating behaviours, comments intended to humiliate or degrade, and controlling, monitoring or intimidating acts can all be hidden in between gestures of ‘love’.”

Emily, who studied Human Geography at the University of Leeds, explained how media coverage of coercive control is currently largely targeted at older people but the youngster suggests that education should start teaching the issues to pupils at ages 14 or 15, rather than 30 plus.

She said: “This would tie in well with the Domestic Abuse Bill which was meant to have its second reading on November 21, although the election will scupper that now.

“Rosie Duffield, MP for Canterbury, spoke frankly about her own experiences, explaining that abuse isn’t only about those noticeable, visible signs. Sometimes there are no bruises, abuse is very often all about control, and power.”

The authors first novel ‘Mine’ is a contemporary romance following Avery Emerson, a fictional second year university student at the University of York, and her relationship with a boyfriend who overtime becomes abusive and controlling. The story follows Avery’s journey to breaking free from this cycle of control.

Emily said: “Getting a book published has been a dream come true, and I’m so excited for it to finally be released. I wrote this novel in my university bedroom, with the hope that Avery’s story might resonate with those who need it.

“I hope it will inspire young women to realise their worth and their strength, and that they are always deserving of respect, no matter what.”

The book has been published by Salad Pages, who publish books by authors aged 22 and under to give young authors a platform to tell their stories.