Wiltshire Police are are running a domestic abuse awareness campaign this week. It coincides with a national 16 days of action supported by Public Health England which focuses on the positive role employers can have in detecting and supporting employees who are victims of abuse.
Domestic abuse isn't just about violent or threatening behaviour - it can be psychological or emotional, sexual or financial, controlling and coercive. It can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, religion, race or sexuality. It can happen in short and long term relationships and partners, ex-partners and family members can all be involved.
Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson funds a number of support services throughout Wiltshire and Swindon, and most recently provided £220,000 to The Phoenix Project run by Splitz Support Service. The project aims to provide a range of valuable support to male and female victims of domestic and sexual abuse in the county.
He said: "Domestic abuse can have a devastating impact on the victims - damaging their lives, and that of their families. No one should ever have to go through the horrific ordeal of being abused, controlled or coerced but unfortunately this does happen.
"Putting victim's at the heart of Wiltshire Police's work is a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan and I am delighted to be able to commission a number of valuable support services across the county to protect domestic abuse victims and survivors.
"By bringing police, local authorities, health professionals and domestic abuse support services together to share information, identify risks and co-ordinate responses; I hope many more victims will be empowered to get the help they need".
Detective Inspector Simon Childe, Force Lead for Domestic Abuse, said: "If you are experiencing domestic abuse it is important to remember it is not your fault. You may feel trapped and unable to leave but there is a lot of support available. Whether you call the police or a victim support service; I urge you to please tell somebody.
"It is understandable that you may not want to get your partner into trouble because of the emotional involvement, but domestic abuse often increases in frequency and severity over time.
"Please call us on 101 to report your concerns. If you think you or someone else you know are in immediate danger please call 999 immediately".
Domestic abuse is everyone's business - if it's happening to you or someone you know, report it as soon as you can. We understand that victims of domestic abuse will often feel scared to report it but the abuse often gets worse over time.
Some of the signs that you might be in an abusive relationship are:
• Your partner is violent towards you, inflicts physical injuries to you or threatens you with violence
• Your partner verbally abuses you, criticises you, puts you down or makes you feel inferior or worthless
• Your partner controls where you are allowed to go, who you are allowed to see, what you can spend money on, what you can do and what you wear
• Your partner sends you excessive messages, emails or voicemails or calls you all the time to monitor what you're doing
• You avoid seeing friends and family and become withdrawn, isolated or reluctant to leave the house
• Your partner forces you to have sex or carry out sexual acts when you don't want to
• Your partner makes you feel afraid of them
• You think you are to blame for the way your partner treats you
• You feel embarrassed for your friends and family to see how your partner treats you
Some of the signs that someone you know might be in an abusive relationship are:
• They are reluctant to do anything with friends of family and become withdrawn
• They seem depressed
• They get anxious if plans change suddenly or they might be home late
• They have signs of physical injuries
• They get lots of phone calls, messages or voicemails from their partner when they are out
• They avoid meeting you when their partner is around
• They seem fearful of their partner
• Checking if someone has been in an abusive relationship before.
The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, also known as Clare's Law, allows you to find out if a partner poses a risk of violence or abuse. In the 12 months to March 2018 Wiltshire Police received 193 'right to know' applications leading to 112 disclosures and 70 'right to ask' applications; all of which were disclosed. For more information visit: https://www.wiltshire.police.uk/article/680/Clare-s-Law-requesting-domestic-violence-offender-data
Call 101 to report concerns, or if you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 999.