Wiltshire appeal over domestic abuse

Wiltshire Times: Coun Keith Humphries says awareness of domestic abuse must be raised Coun Keith Humphries says awareness of domestic abuse must be raised

People in Wiltshire are being encouraged to have their say on a new document which will help tackle domestic abuse.

The Wiltshire and Swindon Community Safety Partnerships have produced a draft strategy outlining how organisations across the county will work together to tackle violence in the home.

Before the strategy is finalised people are being invited to participate in the consultation and give their views.

The consultation is launched as Wiltshire marks Domestic Abuse Awareness Week this week.

Between April 2011 and March 2012, there were over 4,000 domestic abuse incidents reported to Wiltshire Police. However only one in every five incidents is usually reported to the police, so the real figure could be as high as 20,000 per year.

Keith Humphries, cabinet member for public protection and public health said: “We want to raise awareness of this crime, which often goes unreported.

"We would like as many people as possible to participate in the consultation and give their views.

“Domestic abuse impacts on many people’s lives, with up to one in four women and one in six men being affected by one of the many forms of domestic abuse during their lifetime.

"It is often referred to as the hidden crime as victims are often fearful of reporting what is happening to them, and may not even tell family and friends.”

Maggie Rae, corporate director for public health and public protection, said: “It is so important to remind people there is help out there and not to suffer in silence but to have the courage to speak out.”

During the week local charities which provide specialist support for victims of domestic abuse will be packing bags in Sainsbury’s stores to raise awareness of the services and raise funds for their work.

Victim Support will be in Devizes on Friday, while Splitz Support Service will be in the Bradford on Avon store on Saturday.

The draft strategy can be viewed at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/domesticabusestrategyconsultation, and contributions can be made to the site until next February.

If you are, or know someone who is, living with the effects of domestic abuse, you are urged to speak out and seek support by calling the National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247 (freephone in partnership with Women’s Aid and Refuge) or www.speakoutwiltshire.com

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