Your help could be vi­tal to break cy­cle of vi­o­lence

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by CI John Frayne

CHRIST­MAS for most of us means fam­ily gath­er­ings and good­will to all. Re­gret­tably, Christ­mas is also the time when do­mes­tic vi­o­lence reaches its peak. Two women are killed ev­ery week through­out the year as a re­sult of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in Eng­land and Wales. Kent Po­lice is one of the best per­form­ing forces in Eng­land for tackling do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. The po­lice take pos­i­tive action when­ever pos­si­ble and we recog­nise that this is the best way to pro­tect and em­power a vic­tim. How­ever, only a quar­ter of vic­tims re­port in­ci­dents. While the pro­file of do­mes­tic abuse has been raised sig­nif­i­cantly it is still un­der­re­ported. Po­lice and our part­ner agen­cies have more op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­ter­vene at an early stage, sup­port­ing the vic­tim and pre­vent­ing un­told dam­age to chil­dren’s lives. I of­ten re­ceive com­ments about young peo­ple gath­er­ing on street cor­ners but the tragic truth is that some chil­dren feel safer on the streets than in their homes. Chil­dren wit­ness­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence of­ten feel very alone, fright­ened, con­fused and iso­lated. School work can suf­fer and they can find it dif­fi­cult to make friends. Ash­ford has a do­mes­tic abuse drop-in cen­tre, held on the first and third Thurs­day of ev­ery month at The Ash­ford Gate­way, 14 Park Mall, Ash­ford. Free and con­fi­den­tial ad­vice about hous­ing and ben­e­fits, drug and al­co­hol, and le­gal rights is avail­able from do­mes­tic abuse of­fi­cers, so­cial ser­vices and a vic­tim sup­port team. All are wel­come to at­tend. Re­views of do­mes­tic homi­cides high­light time af­ter time that friends, rel­a­tives, work col­leagues and neigh­bours were of­ten aware of do­mes­tic abuse but did not no­tify the au­thor­i­ties that could have stepped in at an early stage. This Christ­mas time I would ask every­one to think about his or her re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to oth­ers. Does the TV get turned up to block out the sound of vi­o­lence next door? Do you know some­one at the school gates who al­ways has un­ex­plained bruises? Does a work col­league have fre­quent short-term ab­sences, low self­es­teem, is con­trolled by their part­ners and may wear cloth­ing to bruises? Could they need help in mak­ing the first call to the po­lice or vis­it­ing a hospi­tal to have their in­juries checked? Your help could be vi­tal to mak­ing the first call to the po­lice and part­ner agen­cies, which could lead to a break in the cy­cle of do­mes­tic abuse in a per­son’s life and per­haps ul­ti­mately sav­ing it. Help­ful num­bers: In an emer­gency call 999 Na­tional Do­mes­tic Abuse helpline 0808 2000 247 Refuge 0808 2000 247 Kent Crimestop­pers 0800 555 111 (to give anony­mous in­for­ma­tion) Na­tional cen­tre for do­mes­tic vi­o­lence www.ncdv.org.uk

CI John Frayne

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