Don’t suffer domestic abuse this Christmas

POSTERS encouraging those in abusive relationships to seek help will be distributed around Suffolk in the run-up to Christmas.

The 'no excuse for domestic abuse' posters have a seasonal theme with one showing a teddy bear and other toys cringing away from two people arguing with the line Ho, Ho, No!

The aim of the posters is to get those in abusive relationships to think about the impact such abuse can have, particularly on any children in the family.

Detective Superintendent Alan Caton, who oversees public protection in Suffolk, says domestic abuse can take many forms but all have a harmful effect.

'Abuse can be verbal or physical but the toll it can take is often unseen,' said Det Supt Caton. 'It could be constant insults, depriving you of contact with family and friends or assaults but the effect is one of reducing your value as a person.

'If you are a victim you deserve not to have to live in fear and, if you have children, you need to think about the impact the abuse is having on them too. They may be witnessing you being struck or may hear constant verbal assaults and this is likely to be causing them great distress.

'We recognise that it can be daunting to consider leaving a partner for many reasons.

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'It could be emotional; that you believe you need the love and support of a partner rather than being on your own, but abuse is neither loving nor supportive whatever your abusive partner may say.

'It could be financial, such as 'I live in a nice home with nice things, if I leave I'll have nothing' or you may have debts or no means of support and feel moving out would make things even more desperate.

'Either way help, advice and support is available; you don't have to live in fear of violence when your partner is drunk or put up with repeated bad behaviour.

'Victims of abuse – men and women - sometimes adopt an 'I can handle it' attitude. Coping with or ignoring your abuse may make your life temporarily easier but will not stop the abuse. Things will not change for the better if you do nothing.

'We would encourage you to take the first steps towards a new life where you can live without worrying about what might happen next.

'We and our partner agencies are trying to get the 'Break the Pattern' message out to those who may need help. Advice and assistance is just a click or a phone call away - visit or telephone 0800 783 5121 or you can contact your local Suffolk Constabulary Victim Care Centre on 01473 613500.'

While traditionally it is thought that women tend to be the victims, statistically one in six men will also be affected by some form of domestic abuse during their lifetime.

Recent figures show that in 40-50 per cent of all incidents reported to the police, children were living in the household. With the school holidays children may be home more often, although they may also be harmed even if they do not directly see or hear the abuse.

Alcohol is often a factor in incidents with around 40 per cent directly linked to excessive drinking.

Domestic abuse can affect all ages and those in both straight and gay relationships.

Your abuser may give excuses for their behaviour – alcohol, drugs, stress, hormones, the list is endless, but there is no excuse for domestic abuse.

In an emergency you should always dial 999.