Suffolk groups pull together to raise awareness of domestic abuse

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Organisations directly or indirectly involved in the protection of victims of domestic abuse in Suffolk came together to raise awareness on the issue today (Tuesday, March 4).

The coming together happened i support of the Suffolk Constabulary response to the National ACPO Domestic abuse week, partner agencies and charity representatives, together with support from District and County Council,

It was part of a national focus on domestic abuse from March 4 to 8 where forces across the country are explaining what they do to protect victims of abuse and highlighting the support available from charities, local authorities, social services and probation services in a bit to encourage more people living with domestic abuse to seek help.

Today, Tuesday 4 March, Suffolk Police’s Domestic Abuse Team were joined by partner agencies such including Suffolk County Council Community Safety Unit, Chair of Suffolk’s Domestic Abuse Partnership, Anglia Care Trust, Lighthouse Women’s Aid, Women’s Refuge, Compassion and PHOEBE (specialist for BME women and children in Suffolk).

Each promoted their own services and a recently launched leaflet from Suffolk County Council and the Suffolk Constabulary was highlighted which assists victims of domestic abuse.

The leaflet, entitled ‘Domestic abuse can happen to anyone’, has been produced with reference to services promoted at the event and includes local and national contact numbers for help and support.

It also outlines what domestic abuse is, what honour based abuse is and has a section entitled ‘Are any of these things happenings to you?’

Advice is designed to be given to victims or possible victims of domestic abuse and honour based abuse with the aim of making them realise what they are being put through and encouraging them to find help, which is outlined by the messages of ‘You do not have to live in fear’ and ‘Be a survivor not a victim.’ written on the front.

Detective Chief Inspector Adrian Randall of the Suffolk Police’s Protecting Vulnerable People said: “Often victims of domestic abuse might not even realise that their relationship is abusive but even if they do many, for a number of different reasons, find it difficult to break the pattern and leave.

“We hope that this event will make some people realise that what is happening to them is not right and that there is a lot of support out there for them both locally and nationally.

“It is important that we work closely with partner agencies when dealing with domestic abuse.

“Cases do not end when the abuse is reported; victims require a lot of support beyond that point from emotional support to finding new housing.”

Keith Whitton, Director of Operation for Anglia Care Trust, added: “We got involved in domestic abuse relatively recently, but we’ve been working within Suffolk for 40 years.

“The model we work to is a whole family approach so it’s quite distinct and different from other services out there.

“We look at working with the families and the victims of domestic abuse in the context of it being a home or household, which I think sometimes that can be forgotten.

“We provide a service for all victims to help out during the immediate crisis, through the transition to getting back on their feet and also longer-term support.”

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore also attended the event.

The ACPO week has fallen in a month in which domestic abuse is the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner’s ‘Passmore Priority’. Furthermore the PCC’s Police and Crime plan outlines a force priority to reduce the percentage of ‘repeat’ victims of domestic abuse crime/incidents.

He said: “Building confidence to enable victims to report these crimes is extremely important and we need to take a multi-agency approach.

“It is crucially important that we do all we can to prevent this terrible crime as well as support the very vulnerable victims and this is a key part of my Police and Crime Plan.

“I have allocated funding to domestic violence organisations across the county and will continue to do all I can to support this valuable and important work.”