Crackdown on domestic violence
A MAJOR crackdown on domestic violence has been launched as police revealed the soaring numbers of victims coming forward.The number of domestic violence incidents in Suffolk has almost doubled in the first six months of this financial year compared to the same period last year.
A MAJOR crackdown on domestic violence has been launched as police revealed the soaring numbers of victims coming forward.
The number of domestic violence incidents in Suffolk has almost doubled in the first six months of this financial year compared to the same period last year.
Police are fronting a 16-day drive to raise awareness of abuse in the home and support the victims.
They are urging people to wear a white ribbon to support the International Campaign against Gender Violence, which was launched yesterday.
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Marianne Fellowes, domestic violence development officer at Suffolk police, said: "Domestic violence is an horrendous crime which so often goes unreported, mainly because victims are reluctant to come forward.
"We want to change that and, by wearing the white ribbon, we hope it will send a clear message to victims of domestic violence. You are not alone – the help you need is just a phone call away."
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She added: "It will also send a clear message to perpetrators of domestic violence that their actions are simply unacceptable in today's society and they will be held accountable for their actions – and that support is available if they are willing to change."
In 2002/03, there were 2,433 incidents of domestic violence reported to police. In the first six months of 2003/04, there have already been 2,380.
But police, who are joining forces with other agencies for the campaign, believe those numbers are "the tip of the iceberg".
Ms Fellowes said: "Domestic violence now accounts for a substantial percentage of all violent crimes.
"It may sound strange, but the fact that the number of reported incidents has risen so sharply in the past year is actually very positive.
"It means that more people have the confidence to come forward and seek help."
Suffolk police officers are being encouraged to wear the white ribbons throughout the campaign, which continues until December 10 – Human Rights Day.
Chief Constable Alastair McWhirter said: "Domestic violence now accounts of about a quarter of all violent crime – and if it is not stopped it can lead to serious injury, even death.
"It is an unacceptable crime – and the police are committed to working with partner agencies, not only to encourage more victims to come forward for help but also to deal appropriately with perpetrators.
He added: "Our aim is to make Suffolk the safest county in the country – not just when people are out and about, but when they are in their own homes too.
"Domestic violence has now been included as one of the priorities in the NIM strategy adopted by the Force from November 2003 through to April 2004 in respect of developing responses to violent crime."
Anyone wishing to support the campaign can get a white ribbon from a number of outlets including police stations, libraries and branches of Ipswich Building Society.