Domestic abuse campaign launched by police

Devon and Cornwall Police are launching a campaign designed to raise awareness of the control element that affects all domestic abuse cases.


Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, at any age, in any kind of relationship and involves one person having control over the other.  This campaign will highlight the fact that whatever type of abuse takes place, be it physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or financial – the abuser is trying to control the victim and uses abuse and/or violence to achieve that control.


A domestic abuse survivor, Rachaele, describes her experience: “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. 


My partner accumulated debts and took out loans in my name, leaving me tens of thousands of pounds in debt.  I lived in fear of retribution if I tried to end the relationship. Abuse can take many forms and it can happen slowly so you don’t even see it happening.


“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.”


Detective Superintendent Sharon Donald of 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.


“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 is that people recognise abuse and that they feel supported to take steps to get out of an abusive 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 and 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 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 and mobile phone messaging.
For help and advice about domestic abuse, including information about both police and non-police support across the Devon and Cornwall region visit: www.domesticabusehelp.co.uk.
You can also call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on: 0808 2000 247 or call 101 to speak to police.
If someone is in immediate danger, call 999. 
To contact the Victim Care Unit call 0300 3030 554 or visit: http://www.victimcaredevonandcornwall.org.uk.

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