Devon And Cornwall Police Launches New Campaign To Raise Awareness Of Domestic Abuse
By Sofy Robertson
Devon and Cornwall Police is launching a new campaign designed to raise awareness of the control element that affects all domestic abuse cases.
With their campaign, Devon and Cornwall Police want people to understand that whatever the type of abuse – physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial – the abuser is trying to control the victim.
Devon mother and domestic abuse survivor Rachaele spoke of her experience in support of the new campaign:
“I entered into a relationship aged nineteen, which lasted for ten years. Throughout that decade I was subjected to emotional, physical and sexual abuse and my children grew up thinking abusive behaviour was normal. We were totally controlled. I was unable to make decisions on my own; I even lost the ability to choose what we would eat for dinner.
“I was able to escape the relationship and, with extensive help, have been able to re-build my life and those of my children. I urge anyone in an abusive relationship to seek help and support.” (Radio Exe)
Detective Superintendent Sharon Donald of Devon and Cornwall Police explained:
“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.
“We hope this campaign will encourage people to come forward if they are in an abusive relationship and seek help either from police or one of our partner agencies. We do understand that people don’t always want to approach police in the first instance.
“The important thing to us is that people recognise abuse and that they feel supported to take steps to get out of an abusive relationship.”
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, at any age, in any kind of relationship and involves one person having control over another. It is also important to be aware that domestic abuse is not always perpetrated by a male partner in the relationship.
Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner, added:
“Evidence shows that early intervention gives police and other agencies the chance to act or provide support before a situation escalates and serious harm is caused.
“It’s important to remember that domestic abuse can take many forms and affect people from all walks of life. It’s not confined to gender, also emotional as well as physical harm is classified as domestic offending.
“Fortunately, the misconception that police do not want to help or are less than keen to intervene or help is now well and truly a thing of the past. Here in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly specialist officers are available who can deal with complaints sensitively and effectively.
“The support available for victims has also improved hugely in recent years. My office commissions the Victim Care Unit, which co-ordinated victims’ services in Devon and Cornwall. It can direct victims of domestic abuse to a multitude of services.”
The campaign has intentionally been launched for the Christmas and New Year period as statistics from previous years have shown an increase in the reporting of cases at this time.
If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic abuse, you can visit any of the websites below for help, advice and support.
To listen to Rachaele’s full story, click here.