Anyone worried about a friend or family member they feel may be at risk of domestic abuse is being encouraged to call a confidential helpline for general advice on how to make a real difference.
It’s all part of a new campaign by Somerset County Council launched this month, running for three months, which marks the Public Health England (PHE) 16 Days of Action against Domestic Violence and the Avon and Somerset Police and PCC campaign #No Excuse.
As well as encouraging victims of all forms of domestic abuse to seek help, friends and family are being asked to be vigilant and ‘look, listen, ask … ask again’ if they have concerns about someone they fear may be in an abusive relationship.
Figures from Avon and Somerset Police and PCC state there were 16,900 reports from October 2016 – October 2017.
Councillor Christine Lawrence, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, Somerset County Council, said: “Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, and from every walk of life. The signs of domestic abuse are often difficult to spot and it can take a whole range of physical and emotional forms. If you are worried about someone, remember that if something doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t right. Don’t ignore a gut feeling or the small signs but seek professional advice first before doing anything.”
If you need general advice on what to say to your friend or family member, Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service can help advise you, just contact the Somerset Domestic Abuse Support helpline to talk in confidence.
There is also a useful guide the ‘Domestic Abuse: Friends and Family Guide’ which tells people about ways they can help others safely and it has detailed advice on the things you can do which can provide emotional and practical support to that person. The guide also provides information about the ways the situation may impact on you and what you can do to help support your own wellbeing whilst providing help to a friend, relative, neighbour or colleague.
Somerset County Council works in partnership with Knightstone Housing and Barnardo’s to provide the Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (SIDAS). There is also help available for perpetrators of domestic abuse who wish to make a change for the better.
Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service: Helpline – 0800 69 49 999
‘Domestic Abuse: Friends and Family Guide’ http://www.somersetsurvivors.org.uk/support-for-a-friend-or-family-member/
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Notes to Editors
Important: Avon and Somerset Police advice is that if you want to report suspected domestic abuse anonymously, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. You can also contact police by calling 101. In an emergency, always call 999.