Members of the public are being asked if they would speak up if they thought someone they knew was suffering domestic abuse.
As part of the national ‘16 Days of Action Against Domestic Abuse’ campaign, the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) is asking members of the public to be aware of the signs of domestic abuse and talk about any suspicions with their loved ones.
A recent Facebook poll on the Cambridgeshire Constabulary page showed 50 percent of participants said they would contact police if they suspected someone they know was suffering domestic abuse, however 40 percent said they would only report it if they could remain anonymous, while others said they wouldn’t as it’s not their place, or they might be wrong.
It can be very upsetting to think that someone is hurting a person you care about, and the first thing you may want to do is protect that person, but this could be dangerous and put them at more risk. This does not mean you should ignore it though, there are ways to do it safely; advice and guidance can be found in a booklet on the Cambridgeshire DASV website here.
PCC Jason Ablewhite, said: “If you suspect someone you know is being abused by a partner or family member, the best thing to do is to give them time to open up to you – you may have to try several times but start by saying you’re worried about them or you’re concerned for their safety.
“Reassure them that the abuse is not their fault and that you are there for them – too often people do not believe a victim when they first disclose abuse, so it is important you show you believe them.”
There are many signs of domestic abuse, so recognising them is an important part of being able to reach out and help someone
Common signs could include your friend changing their behaviour in front of their partner, seeming less confident or frightened, their partner constantly texting or calling them when they are with you.
Do they constantly apologise for their partner’s behaviour? Have they been taking more time off than usual from work? Does their partner criticise them or put them down?
Jason added: “Domestic abuse takes place in all communities and friends and family can be the key to recognising the signs and seeking support.
“If you are worried about someone but don’t want to come forward to police, you can raise concerns anonymously via Crimestoppers. Often victims are too afraid to speak up – we encourage those close to the victim or offender to pass on information anonymously while still being able to support their loved ones.”
Many support services are available to help, however please remember that if anyone’s life is in immediate danger, always dial 999.