Domestic violence campaign launched

A CRACKDOWN on the staggering rise of domestic violence in Suffolk homes has been welcomed by victims.Suffolk police received 2,380 reports of domestic violence in the county between April and September last year – almost double the number for the same period in 2002 – and they have now launched a campaign to raise awareness.

A CRACKDOWN on the staggering rise of domestic violence in Suffolk homes has been welcomed by victims.

Suffolk police received 2,380 reports of domestic violence in the county between April and September last year - almost double the number for the same period in 2002 - and they have now launched a campaign to raise awareness.

But officers are convinced the jump shows more people are now willing to report cases of domestic violence.

Haverhill mother-of-two Pat Norton, who endured 13 years of violence at the hands of her husband, praised the support that is now on offer to victims.


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Mrs Norton, a victim in the 1970s who only left her husband after one particularly vicious attack in front of her son, said: "The police used to come but because it was domestic violence, they didn't get involved.

"If I had the help that is now available, perhaps I would have got out of the situation a lot sooner than I did. I just had to put up with it as years ago you were forced to suffer in silence as there was no help available."

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Police throughout west Suffolk are using Valentine's Day on Saturday as the springboard for an initiative to make information more readily available for victims in the Haverhill and Bury St Edmunds areas after more than 740 people reported cases of domestic violence.

Pc Rebecca Stocking, victim liaison officer for Suffolk police, said: "Last year's increase in the reporting of domestic violence shouldn't be a worrying figure.

"It is positive as it shows people are recognising they are victims of domestic violence and are getting the help that is available.

"But I am also certain there are more than 2,000 cases as domestic violence is a very common crime but it is not very common to report it. Suffolk Police is very interested in raising awareness of domestic violence in the whole county and we hope this campaign will encourage more victims to come forward."

Police believe the average victim may be abused 35 times before they report the matter to the appropriate authorities.

Pc Stocking added: "Some victims are frightened of the repercussions of reporting incidents whilst some are even unaware that they are a victim. Domestic violence often starts in the form of psychological mind games but 60% to 70%t of these cases will escalate to premeditated violence.

"We would also urge anyone who thinks their neighbour or friends might be suffering at the hands of partners to get in touch. People will often turn a blind eye thinking that because it goes on behind closed doors it is none of their business. However, next time you hear your neighbour screaming remember that on average three women die each week in the UK as a result of domestic violence."

Police have launched a poster campaign in the countyand joined Havebury Housing Partnership in Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill where information packs are available, which give information on local organisations to contact,

Anyone who would like confidential advice or support about domestic violence should contact Ms Stocking on 01284 774183.

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