We investigate the characteristics of vortices induced by spanwise forcing using a streamwise oriented dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) with and without a boundary layer suction channel, the flow of which is also driven by a DBD. The velocity field over various regions in the vicinity of the actuator is obtained by ensemble averaging particle image velocimetry. Increased boundary layer thinning and a stronger downward motion are seen near the powered flow-exposed electrode when the DBD is used in conjunction with a suction slot. The effect of varying the applied voltage and freestream velocity on the induced flow is examined. Studies are carried out on the ability for such a structure to control separation on an inclined flat plate and ramp. We find that DBD actuation together with boundary layer suction leads to more robust separation control in these adverse pressure gradient configurations.