Police urge public to report domestic abuse

Devon and Cornwall Police is launching a campaign designed to raise awareness of how domestic abuse can affect anyone and takes many forms.

The campaign will highlight the fact that domestic abuse can happen to anyone, at any age, in any kind of relationship.  This phase will be highlighting the fact that domestic abuse can happen among groups such as the elderly, the disabled and same sex couples.

Domestic abuse isn’t just physical and can take many forms, such as intimidation, financial control, psychological abuse and others.

Domestic abuse survivor, James, describes his experience: “My abuser and I met on a night out and we quickly became a couple.  In a very short space of time he became very controlling – limiting my freedom, isolating me from my friends and family, monitoring my use of social media, websites and mobile phone and wanting to control my money. He became very aggressive and physically violent, and eventually caused me serious injury.  At that stage I realised I had to get out.

“At the time, I questioned my own sanity and often felt I wouldn’t be believed if I spoke out or asked for help.  It is really important that people understand that domestic abuse can affect anyone and that it’s important to seek help.”

Detective Superintendent Stephen Parker, Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “Domestic abuse is about one person having power and control over another. Abusers can be very subtle, clever and manipulative.  They can use intimidation, coercion, threats, blackmail and other tools to control their victims. Abuse isn’t just physical.

“Devon and Cornwall Police has trained officers who can advise and help domestic abuse victims and we hope this campaign will encourage people to come forward if they are in an abusive relationship.  We also work very closely with partner agencies as we understand that people don’t always want to approach police in the first instance.

“The important thing is that people recognise abuse in any form and that they can take steps to get out of an abusive situation.”

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner, added “Supporting victims and witnesses of all forms of abuse, and helping them to get justice, will be a priority in my soon to be published police and crime plan.

“I want to reassure all victims of domestic abuse that the police will take them seriously and they will be dealt with professionally.

“If an individual is any doubt whether to report, in the first instance, they can contact the victim care unit on 0300 3030 554 where they will be supported through the reporting process.”

The campaign coincides with the increase in the occurrence and reporting of domestic abuse incidents during the Christmas and New Year period.  The campaign will be rolled out via digital and print media and will also include radio advertising and bus rear and shelter advertising.

For help and advice about domestic abuse across the Devon and Cornwall region visit: www.domesticabusehelp.co.uk or call 101.  In an emergency always call 999.  To contact the Victim Care Unit call 0300 3030 554 or visit: http://www.victimcaredevonandcornwall.org.uk.