“Speaking out about domestic abuse could change your life”
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Living in fear of a partner, cut off from family and friends, controlled in every aspect of life.
This is the reality for many people across Dyfed-Powys who are living with domestic abuse, stalking and harassment – offences which too often go unnoticed as perpetrators and even victims themselves do all they can to hide the signs.
While the consequences of living with domestic abuse can be shattering, for many, the repercussions of speaking out and reporting offences to police appear too big to overcome, leading victims to live in relationships that continue to deteriorate, and with abusive behaviour that continues to escalate.
Recognising the need to highlight the support available to people living with abusive behaviour, Dyfed-Powys Police has launched a campaign aiming to empower victims to take the first step in seeking help as it works to eliminate domestic abuse from its communities.
Detective Superintendent Jayne Butler said: “Domestic abuse is a very complex area of work for police forces across the country, as so many victims fear the consequences they might encounter if they speak out.
“As a force, we have committed to working towards the elimination of domestic abuse, stalking, and harassment, putting structures and processes in place to achieve this. While this might appear to be an enormous task, we believe that striving for anything less than eliminating these kinds of behaviours would be to implicitly accept that they will happen.
“This is not something we are willing to do, and this campaign is just one of the steps we are taking to realise this aim, speaking directly to people living with domestic abuse and highlighting the support we can offer.”
The first stage of the campaign has been guided by the understanding that the decision to leave an abusive relationship is a very difficult one. Victims often believe the consequences of reporting their partner would be worse than continuing to live in the relationship as they face breaking up a family, losing friends, financial difficulties, and the threat of further violence.
However, officers are determined to show that taking the first step in speaking out allows victims to access support to see them through the criminal justice process and gain back their lives.
“We recognise and understand the genuine concern that comes with reporting someone you loved – and often still love despite their abusive behaviour,” Det Supt Butler said.
“This concern is made very clear to us in the way we receive many reports, which do not come directly from the victim. We have children calling to tell us their father has been violent towards their mother who is too scared to speak out, friends who say they have been phoned while a victim is being assaulted, and concerned neighbours contacting us to attend disturbances.
“Even once these reports are made and attended by officers, there is often a reluctance to take action, such is the fear the perpetrator has instilled in their victim, and the threats that have been made should they speak out.
“We need people to know that they absolutely do not have to – and that they shouldn’t – stay silent.
“As this campaign gets underway, we will do all we can to highlight the support available to victims, the steps we can take to ensure they are safe at home, as well as sharing real life incidents to show how other people in their situation have changed their lives by taking the incredibly brave first step of contacting police.”
Information and advice will be shared on the Dyfed-Powys Police Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Domestic abuse, stalking and harassment can be reported to police in the following ways:
If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908
In an emergency, always call 999.
*If you feel you need support in contacting police, there are organisations that can help you. Click here to find them, or search online for Live Fear Free or Women’s Aid – both have free helplines available.