SOMERSET NEWS: Domestic abuse – look, listen, ask and ask again!
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 advice on how to make a real difference.
It is all part of a new campaign by Somerset County Council that is running for the next three months and marks the Public Health England 16 Days of Action against Domestic Violence and the Avon and Somerset Police and PCC campaign entitled #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 show there were 16,900 reports from October 2016 to October 2017.
The county council’s spokesman for public health and wellbeing, Cllr Christine Lawrence, 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 somebody needs general advice on what to say to their friend or family member, Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service can help - just contact the Somerset Domestic Abuse Support helpline to talk in confidence.
People will also find the Domestic Abuse: Friends and Family Guide useful. It tells people about ways they can help others safely and it has detailed advice on the things they 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 somebody and what they can do to help support their 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/ .
A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: “If you want to report suspected domestic abuse anonymously then call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. You can also contact police by calling 101. In an emergency, always call 999.”