Report based on personal accounts of Suffolk domestic abuse survivors says more must be done to support them
A report highlighting the graphic experiences of domestic abuse survivors will lead to an enquiry looking at how services supporting victims can be improved.
Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore made the announcement yesterday after the research he commissioned found failures in how survivors were treated by the agencies they turned to for help.
Led by University Campus Suffolk senior lecturer Emma Bond the report includes distressing, personal accounts of abuse from 69 men and woman across the county.
Among them are stories of physical, mental and sexual abuse against partners, children and even family pets.
One of the report’s key findings was communication between different agencies, and between agencies and survivors, had to be improved.
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It did not question their desire to help survivors but said their work had to be more coordinated.
Yesterday Mr Passmore issued a clarion call to all the organisations supporting domestic abuse survivors: Get involved so we can put this right.
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“We’ll get a suitably qualified judge or somebody like that to oversee this who is genuinely independent, looking at every organisation involved in this to see how we can make it better,” Mr Passmore said.
“We’ve set aside several thousand pounds to get this independent review up and running. There’s a great sense of urgency about this.”
Mr Passmore added some of the accounts from survivors interviewed for the report highlighted the despicable behaviour of abusers.
“There’s a tendency to maim or kill family pets to get leverage over the victim. There was a woman was attacked with a weapon who received some really serious injuries. There was another one where a woman was strangled until she passed out several times and the person just laughed at her.”
Dr Bond said the sustained level of violent abuse had shocked her but the victims’ willingness to help others was what drove her on.
“Some of the victims I spoke to had endured years and years of really horrific, physical violence,” she said.
“My motivation was that the victims themselves were prepared to share their story to help other people.
“For me it was really important it was their voices on which the report stood and it wasn’t drowned in statistics.”
To contact Victim Support Suffolk, visit victimsupport.org.uk or call 0845 456 5995.