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Partnership's priority to stop abuse

PUBLISHED: 13:49 24 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:06 05 July 2010

THE festive season can often be a worrying period for victims of domestic abuse.

Nationally, domestic abuse affects one in four women and one in six men in their adult lives.

THE festive season can often be a worrying period for victims of domestic abuse.

Nationally, domestic abuse affects one in four women and one in six men in their adult lives. Two to three women are killed every week by a partner or ex- partner and only 35pc of incidents are reported.

In Suffolk a number of agencies are working to encourage people to report domestic abuse.

“Violence and intimidation should not be any more acceptable in the home than it is on the street and although there has been a welcome increase in reporting domestic abuse in Suffolk it is accepted as a vastly under reported and hidden crime that thrives on secrecy, which victims often suffer in silence and isolation,” said Shirley Osborne, the domestic abuse partnership manager for Suffolk County Council and the Waveney Community Safety Partnership.

“Most of us will tend to think of the physical effects and injuries when we think of domestic abuse but it is not just physical violence. Such abuse can and does manifest itself in a variety or ways and includes emotional and psychological abuse, sexual abuse, financial control, and imposed social isolation.

“These are all very common aspects and combined together or separate all of these can be equally devastating.”

In Waveney there were 755 mostly violent incidents reported to the police between April and September this year. With this in mind, Waveney Community Safety Partnership has made combating domestic abuse a priority and it supports the work of Waveney Domestic Abuse Forum to develop local responses and initiatives.

“Once people are in a spiral of abuse and violence it is very hard for them to break free, as apart from the threat of further violence, their confidence and self esteem can be completely undermined,” said Mrs Osborne.

“Approaching Christmas for those who experience or witness domestic abuse is a worrying time, anticipating what might happen brings feelings of anxiety and even dread - 'walking on eggshells' is

a common phrase used by victims.”

At this time of year, the effects of alcohol and the impact of other worries such as the credit crunch is likely to exacerbate this.

“Research from Women's Aid indicates there is a significant increase is calls for help over the Christmas period,” Mrs Osborne said. “It is likely everyone reading this article will know someone who is affected.”

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic abuse, there are helplines to call: Suffolk 24 hour Helpline on 0800 783 5121, Waveney Women's Aid on 0800 587 7890, National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0800 200 0247 or log on to www.breakthepattern.org.uk

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