Cheshire police chief encourages domestic abuse victims not to suffer in silence

TODAY is White Ribbon Day when people are encouraged to wear a lapel badge to show their commitment to saying ‘no’ to domestic abuse.

John Dwyer, Cheshire Police & Crime Commissioner has pledged his support by telling victims not to suffer in silence.

He said: “Domestic abuse is one of those crimes where I would like to see the number of reports increase.

“We know that men and women often suffer for years in silence before reporting crimes against them to the police. And just because it isn’t physical doesn’t mean it’s not domestic abuse.”

New legislation introduced in March, 2013 means that domestic abuse now includes coercive control. Anyone who is subject to controlling or threatening behaviour towards them, such as being prevented from seeing their family and friends, managing their own finances or humiliating them in front of their friends is suffering just as much as they are if they are being hit.

Mr Dwyer has invested £100,000 in the Alltogether Better programme which enables agencies to work closely together in the same offices and with the aim to protect victims from harm before it escalates.

New initiatives include a domestic abuse voluntary perpetrator tagging programme and a 26 week voluntary programme to provide intensive rehabilitation for domestic violence perpetrators who are not convicted, but want to address issues behind offending.

There will be an integrated early support access team providing a single point for agencies to refer individuals or families affected by domestic abuse. This enables health practitioners, education professionals and others to refer victims to the access team.

Domestic abuse refuges will be re-commissioned to ensure the buildings are a better located, better equipped and provide a better service for victims to enable them to rebuild their lives.

Mr Dwyer added: "There is still much to be done to encourage survivors of domestic abuse to come forwards but if I can help to put measures in place that will help to identify victims and signpost them to the support that they need then that is a step in the right direction.

“There are networks available to support survivors through the often daunting process of escaping from domestic abuse and I will wear my white ribbon to pledge my support to this vitally important campaign."

The first White Ribbon Campaign was launched by a group of men in Canada in 1991. Visit www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk

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