PCC supports White Ribbon campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse

Wednesday, 25 November, was International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and in Suffolk the day marks the start of activities to highlight the White Ribbon campaign to tackle domestic abuse.
It’s thought 35% of women and girls globally experience some form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime with up to seven in ten women facing this abuse in some countries.
Here in Suffolk some women face the threat of daily violence from their partner – and men are victims too.
Between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015 there were more than 9,000 incidents of domestic abuse reported to police in Suffolk – an increase of 12.6%. Anyone can suffer from domestic abuse or sexual violence – age, gender, social status, race or religion are no barrier and within the 9,000+ incidents reported in the county last year 77% of the victims were women and 23% men.
Despite thousands of incidents each year being recorded by police it’s still thought domestic abuse is vastly under-reported as it occurs behind closed doors and is often hidden from anyone but the victim and perpetrator.
It takes courage for victims to come forward as it can mean a dramatic change and emotional, legal and practical complications, however no one should have to live in fear of violence or abuse.
In a bid to raise awareness of the issues, and the support, advice and help available, police and partner agencies will be carrying out a number of events and activities over the next few weeks.
In the north of Suffolk representatives from the Waveney Domestic Violence & Abuse Forum (WDVAF) will be out and about with events in Lowestoft, Bungay, Halesworth and Leiston.
The Forum team will be made up of representatives from various agencies including Suffolk Constabulary, Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service, Access Community Trust (ACT), Lighthouse Women’s Aid, Norton and Peskett Solicitors and Leeway, all of whom are providing staff members to support stands at the following venues, all between 10am and 3pm;
Thursday 26 November – Waveney Domestic Violence and Abuse Forum’s AGM – Lowestoft Kirkley Centre
Monday 30 November – Bungay Co-op
Tuesday 1 December – Halesworth Co-op
Monday 7 December – Leiston Co-op
Wednesday 9 December – Asda Lowestoft
There will also be an unstaffed stand at Lowestoft College on December 7, 8 and 9 to allow people to pick up leaflets, information and useful contacts.
In the Suffolk Coastal area there will be two stands outside the Next store at Martlesham Heath between 11am and 3pm on Saturday 28 November with these being staffed by partner agencies including the police and fire service, with a fire engine also being sited there, subject to availability.
There will be a display in the rear foyer at Mid-Suffolk District Council offices, while a tree decorated with hearts and white ribbons will be on display at The Mix youth facility in Stowmarket from November 27 as part of the Christmas Tree Festival.
Compassion, the domestic abuse and violence charity in the Babergh area, is highlighting the often unspoken issue of child on parent violence and Lighthouse Women’s Aid are launching White Ribbon alongside their 40th Anniversary on November 25.

Suffolk Police & Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore said; “It is a sad reflection on our society that domestic abuse and domestic violence is so prevalent. It is an appalling crime; it ruins the lives of victims and has a devastating impact on their families, particularly as children suffer the consequences as well.
“It is crucially important that victims have the confidence and support they need to report domestic violence and I hope this focus will give those suffering abuse the confidence to speak out.”

Detective Inspector Jim Gooding, said; “We know that dealing effectively with domestic abuse requires a concerted multi-agency approach and we do not underestimate how difficult it can be for people to speak out about being a victim.
“Abuse is a hidden issue and includes everything from controlling behaviour to physical violence. Help and advice is available from a number of sources and we need to encourage more people to speak out to break the cycle. You are not alone – help is a phone call away.
“It is about working together to offer long term support and not just ensuring victims and their families make it through the criminal justice process.”
For help and advice you can contact police by dialling 101, the national domestic violence helpline on 0808 200 0247 or go to the Constabulary website.

L-r   Tim Passmore; Dreena Black from WDVAF and Temporary Chief Constable Gareth Wilson