VICTIMS of domestic abuse are being encouraged to report incidents before the situation escalates.
Sussex Police and partners are launching a campaign, including advertising and local events, aimed at encouraging all victims of domestic abuse to report incidents earlier.
The campaign will raise awareness of White Ribbon UK, an international organisation working to involve men in opposing violence and abuse against women.
Currently more than 60 reports of domestic abuse are reported to Sussex Police each day.
The true picture will be much higher as often the abuse goes on behind closed doors and the reasons for not reporting are undoubtedly complicated.
Sussex police and crime commissioner, Katy Bourne, who is leading the campaign, said: “It is very important that partners work together to identify best practice as this will ultimately deliver a better service to victims and encourage reporting of this largely hidden crime. I am particularly delighted that this year’s domestic abuse campaign has involvement from partners across Sussex - all working together to encourage earlier reporting of this appalling crime.
“I am pleased that my role in driving Sussex Police’s response to dealing with victims of domestic abuse during my first year in office, resulted in the force gaining White Ribbon status - the first police force in England and Wales to achieve this award.
“However, achieving White Ribbon status is just the start. I want the crime of domestic abuse to become socially unacceptable and one that the wider public will feel more able to talk about. I believe there is still some way to go until we have reached this stage.
“I was elected Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner on a manifesto pledge to tackle domestic abuse and this will remain one of my key priorities throughout my term in office.”
Sussex Police was the first police force in England to be awarded White Ribbon status in recognition of the work being done to tackle domestic abuse and is committed to supporting the aims of the White Ribbon Campaign: never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women, helping and supporting everyone who is experiencing domestic abuse.
The White Ribbon is a symbol of hope for a world where people can live free from the fear of violence and abuse. By wearing a White Ribbon pin badge, you can show your support in challenging the acceptability of violence by becoming involved in challenging attitudes and behaviour, and helping women to break the silence.
The campaign includes poster advertising and a series of local events, backed up by advertising panels on the rear of some Brighton and Hove buses, the first time the company has had advertising on buses for 20 years. 40 bus shelters across Sussex will also be displaying messages from the awareness campaign, and other bus companies across Sussex will be displaying some 400 display panels on the inside of their buses.
If you are in a relationship where you feel frightened, or if controlling, abusive or violent behaviour has become part of the relationship, Sussex Police has specially trained officers who can help.
Martin Richards, chief constable of Sussex, said: “Domestic abuse can take many forms - not just physical harm, but intimidation through controlling behaviour, harassment and threats. It is sometimes difficult for people to recognise that the way their partner is behaving towards them is actual abuse and is not acceptable. We ask people to talk to us in confidence by calling us at any time, or if they can’t talk to us, then talk to someone.
“Abuse is something you do not have to put up with. This is a widespread social problem that affects a variety of people but there is a lot of help available, not only from Sussex Police.”
For advice and support visit www.sussex.police.uk or call 101 or 01273 470101
If you don’t want to talk to the police, talk to someone. These organisations can also help:
The 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247
West Sussex - WORTH on 0330 222 8181 www.worthservices.org