A campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse is being launched by Thames Valley Police in partnership with Domestic Abuse Co-ordinators and Crimestoppers today.
The aim of the campaign is to increase awareness and promote early intervention in an attempt to break the cycle of abuse.
Reports of domestic abuse incidents average around 32,000 a year. Statistics show an increase in reporting around March, June, July and August.
The majority of domestic abuse still goes unreported, and the focus of the campaign is to encourage people to contact either the police, Crimestoppers or specialist support agencies.
The campaign will urge family, friends, neighbours and colleagues to come forward and let the police or other agencies know if they suspect someone is being abused.
A dedicated website speakouttoday.co.uk and video has been launched to provide practical information for victims and those supporting them, and includes vital links to national and local support services.
Thames Valley Police Assistant Chief Constable Helen Ball said: “Domestic abuse can take many forms; it doesn’t have to be physical violence. Domestic abuse counts for one in seven of all violent incidents in England and Wales. It is a crime and we take all reports of domestic abuse seriously.”
Detective Superintendent Nora Holford, Thames Valley Police’s head of Protecting Vulnerable People, added: “If you know someone is suffering domestic abuse, help them and make that call. Domestic abuse can affect anyone. It could be someone you know or it could be you, and men as well as women can be victims of domestic abuse. The first port of call is the police. Let us know by dialling 101 or 999 in an emergency. If you don’t want to give your name you can report this anonymously via Crimestoppers or call one of the specialist organisations.”
Mr Khan Juna, Chairman of Thames Valley Police Authority, said: “Domestic abuse is, in many ways, a ‘hidden’ rather than ‘public’ crime. Yet it results in serious human and emotional costs for victims and significant financial costs to the community. It is estimated across the Thames Valley area, domestic abuse costs victims and the public over £200 million per annum in terms of its impact on the criminal justice system, child social care, housing, employment and health care. For all these reasons the Police Authority supports this campaign to break the cycle of abuse.”
Julia Hughes, from Thames Valley Crimestoppers, commented: “We understand how difficult it is for worried family and friends to speak out about domestic abuse while still providing loved ones with the support they so need.
“However there is a safe way to give your valuable information without anyone ever knowing you called, by phoning the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Our anonymous service can provide family and friends with the courage they need to help break the cycle of abuse before it goes too far.”
Liz Jones, Domestic and Sexual Abuse Co-ordinator for Oxford City Council, said “Violence and abuse in the home has a huge impact on individuals and society as a whole, but all too often people around the victims and children do not know what to do to access help and advice.
“We need people to come forward before it is too late. We should not put the onus of responsibility purely on the victims to speak out. Those that abuse their partners and terrify their children need to change their behaviour. All of us, family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and abusers can get help and advice to prevent further suffering, national and local numbers can be found on www.speakouttoday.co.uk”