New campaign shows we can all help tackle domestic abuse
We can all play our part in tackling the horror of domestic abuse.
The police play a crucial role in protecting victims and investigating offences, the Crown Prosecution Service charge and prosecute suspected offenders, and many partner agencies, such as the Colchester and Tendring Women’s Refuge, can provide both practical and emotional support to victims. However, we also have a role to play in being aware of the signs that someone is being abused – whether they are a friend, relative or colleague – and supporting those victims who have the courage to come forward.
I was recently heartened to see that in Tendring district some innovative work has been done to not only support victims and raise awareness of the harrowing issue of domestic abuse but also to educate people to spot the early signs that a friend or loved one may be being abused.
The Behind Closed Doors campaign has been initiated as a Tendring Community Builder initiative. Posters have been placed around the district at public events, displaying contact information for organisations offering help and support for victims or those who have concerns about someone they know and there was a ‘Behind Closed Doors’ stand at last week’s Clacton air show.
The posters carry the slogan that domestic violence has “no class distinction”. This a key point: this horrific crime happens behind the closed doors of people from all walks of life, many of whom sadly suffer in silence.
As part of the campaign stickers, posing the question “are you in a bad relationship?” will be displayed on the back of all public toilet doors in Tendring. These stickers not only aim to reach out to victims but to encourage the public to question the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship which hopefully may lead to them intervening where they suspect a friend or loved one is being abused. And, what is perhaps most useful about the stickers, is that they will reach a victim in one of the few places where they are alone and away from the perpetrator.
Diane Boyd, a Community Builder based at the Clacton Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), told me about how they are providing a Freephone service at their office in Carnarvon Road where victims can confidentially contact specialist organisations and charities for support and guidance. This will undoubtedly become a vital lifeline for those brave victims who find the courage to come forward.
It is innovative and inspirational work within the community, such as this, that will help us to stand together to tackle domestic abuse in Essex.
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex