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16 December 2013, 07:10 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50
Hampshire Police say that victims of domestic abuse suffer 35 assaults before officers are called.
Across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight there is a rise in the number of domestic abuse incidents and alcohol related violence Christmas and New Year.
Below, two women tell their accounts of living with domestic abuse.
Hampshire Constabulary and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire are running a domestic abuse campaign in the run-up to the festive period to encourage victims, abusers, friends and family to get help.
Domestic incidents are the only identified incident type that shows a significantly higher level of reporting in the run-up to Christmas compared to a period earlier in December. On average over the past six years, 20 per cent more domestic incidents have been reported at this time of year than in a similar period earlier in the month.
The campaign which has launched today, December 16, will run until the beginning of January.
Research shows that a victim of domestic abuse is likely to experience 35 separate incidents before calling the police.
Victims, abusers and witnesses are all being urged to get help and advice. All the local information about where to go to get help is available on the Hampshire Domestic Abuse Forum website: http://hampshiredomesticabuse.org.uk
Here two local women tell us about their experience with domestic abuse: (both names have been changed as they wish to remain anonymous)
Sue was with her partner for 11 years and was married for 7 of those. They have one son together who is 7 years old.
Sue’s partner would put her down constantly about her weight and when in a restaurant he would buy food for himself and their son but only allow Sue to have a diet coke. He would refuse to eat anything if she cooked as he would say he’s not eating it ‘look what it’s done to you’. This behaviour the passed down to their son and partner would think it funny if he called his mum names.
Anything to do with their son, he would say it is your job not mine. He would not allow Sue to buy healthy food as it was ‘too expensive’ but because he controlled the money, Sue had no options.
Sue went on a maths course in the view to hopefully being employed in the future, her partner would call her thick in front of the son and they would laugh together. Partner had no positive things to say to Sue ever, it was all negative, this has had a massive impact on her self esteem..
Jane came into Southern Domestic Abuse Service in Sept 2013. She fled from an extremely violent partner who physically, verbally, emotionally, sexually and financially abused her for a number of years.
Jane had tried to leave him previously but his sister physically abused her and she was then too scared to leave. The abuse was escalating and the physical and the sexual abuse was getting more frequent.
Drugs and alcohol were a major factor in her life, to the extent that she was being drugged (MDMA) by her partner and made to do sex work, he would take the money and just buy her 10 cigarettes.
Jane also shoplifted so she could survive and was made to give him money for drugs and alcohol.
Sue and Jane both reported these incidents of domestic abuse and are now getting help from local services.
Superintendant Ben Snuggs said: “Domestic abuse is violent crime, plain and simple and we work hard throughout the year to protect victims and target perpetrators. However, as our research shows that there is a distinct increase in the run up to Christmas and over the New Year period, we are encouraging victims, offenders and witnesses, to come forward, report domestic abuse and seek help and advice.
“The message is simple, Speak Out Today.”
A live web chat will be hosted on Facebook as part of the campaign on Wednesday, December 18, 2013. Supt Ben Snuggs and an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor will be on hand to answer any queries.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Simon Hayes said: “Domestic abuse affects many more people across Hampshire and Isle of Wight than we know. I am working with partners to ensure the best possible provision is available to those affected by violence and abuse.
“Statistics show that nationally 66 per cent of domestic abuse victims have children. These children are at increased risk of developing behavioural problems and mental health issues, possibly going on to be vulnerable to abusive and controlling behaviour themselves. Early intervention is crucial for breaking the cycle of offending and education among young people essential to preventing them becoming involved in abusive relationships.
“In today’s society no one should live in fear of violence or abuse in a relationship and we need to do everything we can to stop this. I urge anyone affected by domestic abuse not to suffer in silence but to seek the advice and support they need to move towards a future without harm and violence.”
If you or anyone you know is suffering from domestic abuse, Speak Out Today. Visit http://hampshiredomesticabuse.org.uk to find out about local services and where to go for help and advice. Do not suffer in silence.