White Ribbon Day raises awareness and works to prevent domestic violence
Bedfordshire Police is supporting White Ribbon Day and marking the start of the annual 16 days of action together with its partners across the county to raise awareness of domestic abuse.
The force is dedicated to helping people break free from the cycle of domestic abuse and provide support at a terrifying and low point of their lives.
But the COVID-19 pandemic and two periods of lockdown has created the potential for greater risk to victims. Charities and helplines have reported soaring numbers of those seeking help and advice.
During these 16 days the force is taking the opportunity to reassure those experiencing abuse that support is still available, despite the pandemic. With partner agencies it will continue to share information on how to make a report and to find help.
Detective Chief Inspector Craig Laws, head of the force’s Emerald team, which is dedicated to investigating domestic abuse, said:
“Restrictions on movement, social distancing and isolation may have amplified abusive behaviour, and we understand that abuse can take many forms – it is not just physical violence.
“If someone is constantly calling you names, or making you feel as if you are going crazy, or if they control your money, or your contact with friends and family, this is domestic abuse, and it can happen to anyone, regardless of their gender, age, sexuality or background.
“This second lockdown has presented a further period of uncertainty for those at risk of harm, and we know it may be even harder to come to terms with what is happening to you and get access to help.
“If someone is making you feel unsafe in your own home, and it is hard to speak about what’s been happening or you feel it’s impossible to leave, or to ask them to leave, please be assured that support services are still operating and we are still investigating.
“We know that people are living with abuse and in fear, and whether you are experiencing abuse yourself, or you are worried for someone you know, there is always help available. No one needs to suffer in silence, please get in touch. We will be ready for whenever you are.”
To find out more information and advice about domestic abuse please visit Bedfordshire Police’s information pages.
If you are at risk of domestic abuse, call the Police on 101, always call 999 in an emergency. Alternatively, you can call independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Victims of domestic abuse can also contact Signpost for free and confidential support, whether the abuse has been reported or not.
Signpost’s experienced staff and volunteers know what emotions and challenges victims may be going through. They are specially trained to listen and give help and advice.
Often just talking to someone, especially one who is not family or a friend, can help victims, or those affected, make sense of what has happened and find a way to help cope and recover.
They can provide a safe, neutral place for victims to voice their fears, worries and emotions. Their emotional support is confidential and non-judgemental.
They also work with a range of specialist organisations and community support groups and can make referrals to help victims on their journey.
For further information or to get in contact visit www.signpostforbedfordshire.com.