They are among the most despicable crimes Cumbria’s police officers deal with all-year-round – and this December there will be no let-up in efforts to stop domestic violence and protect the vulnerable.
Nobody should have to suffer domestic abuse, and officers work hard around-the-clock to safeguard those at risk of abuse and to make sure those who attack them, exploit them and cause their lives to be filled with fear face the consequences.
Officers’ number one priority is ensuring people’s safety.
Working with partners in other agencies and the criminal justice system, police take reports seriously and aim to put people before the courts where they can.
As Cumbria Police today launches a domestic abuse campaign, statistics show that in the last year the force have been behind:
- More than 600 prosecutions of domestic violence offences.
- The issuing of nearly 70 domestic violence protection orders.
- The securing of 265 restraining orders.
While prosecuting criminals is a key part of policing, officers also want to make sure those who suffer at the hands of abusers or live in fear of what might happen to them get the support and help they need.
Detective Chief Inspector James Yallop is a senior officer within the public protection side of policing in Cumbria.
He said: “Nobody should ever have to suffer domestic abuse and if you’re scared at home, there is help out there.
“Tackling these awful crimes and safeguarding vulnerable people is a key priority for us.
“We take reports seriously and we treat all cases with sensitivity.
“If you are suffering, please get in touch. We are here to help and support you. Even if right now you only have questions, I would urge you to contact us.”
The key aims of Cumbria Police’s domestic abuse campaign are to encourage people to report abuse and to highlight the work ongoing to stop it and the support services available.
DCI Yallop added: “Getting the right support can empower someone to take their next positive step forward.
“There is a whole wealth of support services available in Cumbria; everything from counselling to rehoming, in addition to many other services available nationally.
“This could be financial advice, support around substance or alcohol misuse or emotional health and wellbeing.
“As the police, we can help you access these support services. We can also support you though any court process.
“Support is also available for anyone who recognises their behaviour towards a partner or family member is inappropriate.
“It is important to understand why this may be happening so people can get the help they need.”
There are specialist programmes available through Victim Support in Cumbria that work with victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse to help put an end to the offending.
This campaign comes as people look to Christmas and the festive break.
DCI Yallop added: “Christmas wasn’t really the same for many of us last year due to the restrictions in place and most of us are looking forward to this festive period.
“But, sadly, at this time of year we often see a rise in domestic abuse.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to appeal to potential offenders to stop and think about the harm that they are doing to their loved ones.
“Even though we still believe domestic abuse is under-reported, every year people come forward and I would say to anyone – please don’t suffer in silence.”
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “We have to do much more than just talk about domestic abuse; we all recognise that it is an awful and serious crime which often has wider effects on family members including children
“That’s why we have to turn talk into action, and it’s why the Constabulary take this issue so seriously and will continue to do so.
“No one should have to worry about their partner harming, hospitalising or, worst case scenario, killing them.
“I sincerely urge anyone who is facing or has faced domestic abuse to please contact the police, they are there to help and every report will be taken seriously.
“I understand that going to the police is a really difficult step for some people and not everyone wishes to contact the police, which is why I commission support services across the county.
“These services are there for you and have fully trained personnel who can offer practical help.
“If you’re looking for information and advice, Victim Support can signpost you to your closest service to help you as best as possible.
“Call Victim Support on 0300 303 0157 Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm or the 24/7 Supportline on 0808 1689 111.
“If you cannot speak, visit the website www.victimsupport.org.uk and use the Livechat.
“Please do not suffer in silence – you are never alone.”
There are five categories of domestic abuse:
* Physical abuse.
* Controlling behaviour, where someone controls areas of the victim’s life. This can include controlling who the victim meets or speaks to, what they access on social media, what they wear and monitoring a person’s movements.
* Coercive behaviour, where the victim is forced to do things against their will, or they are constantly shouted at, ridiculed, deliberately frightened, threatened or made to feel like they have to walk on eggshells.
* Financial abuse, where the perpetrator controls the victim’s finances or restricts what money they can access for themselves or others. This is also a form of controlling behaviour.
* Psychological abuse, where a perpetrator destroys the confidence, outlook or mindset of the victim.
If you have been the victim of domestic abuse, or are concerned for someone who is, you can report this by calling 101.
Always dial 999 in an emergency.
You can access support services regardless of whether you have reported a crime to the police.
To access support services independently, contact Victim Support 24/7 on 0808 1689 111 – or visit the Cumbria Together website www.cumbriatogether.com.