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Jump in domestic abuse in Devon and Cornwall

Jump in domestic abuse in Devon and Cornwall

Published by Emma Carton at 8:09am 18th February 2020. (Updated at 8:12am 18th February 2020)

A south-west woman who grew up in a home riddled with violence and neglect has shared her story as police crackdown on domestic abuse.

The Devon and Cornwall force says cases are rising, year on year.

It handled more than 2,600 the January before last.

Dani ended up in a controlling relationship and has told Pirate FM the changes were subtle.

"I didn't understand that abuse wasn't just about broken bones and bruises".

Scroll down to read Danielle's story in full or find out where you can go to seek help about domestic abuse.

Danielle's Story:

Danielle ended up in an abusive relationship after being brought up in a house riddled with violence, neglect and isolation.

The woman, who now works as an advisor, has shared her story as part of a crackdown across Devon and Cornwall.

"I didn't understand that abuse wasn't just about broken bones and bruises; I had no awareness around the different types of abuse.  

"In each case I was in an environment where I had little control. 

"I was left with low self esteem and little confidence.  

"Fortunately, with the appropriate support, I was able to regain control of my life, get the help I needed and escape from the abuse. 

"I went on to work as an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) to other victims. 

"It's really important to me to let other sufferers of abuse know that help is available and that your life can change for the better".

Domestic Abuse Survivor, Danielle

What do the figures show?

Devon and Cornwall Police say they are seeing a rise in the number of cases being reported, especially following the festive period.

The force handled 2299 reports in January 2015 - the year that the offence of controlling and coercive behaviour came into law.

By January 2019, the number of cases being reported had risen to 2,637.

"Domestic abuse is about one person having power and control over another. Abusers can be very subtle, clever and manipulative. 

"The level and type may change and increase over time, often the victim doesn't realise they are being abused. 

"Perpetrators can use intimidation, coercion, threats, blackmail and other tools to control their victims. Abuse isn't just physical.

"We hope this campaign will encourage people to seek help if they are in an abusive relationship, either from police or one of our partner agencies.  

"We do understand that people don't always want to approach police in the first instance.  

"The important thing is that people recognise abuse and that they know help is available".

Detective Inspector Dave Pebworth

How can I seek help?

The Devon and Cornwall Police campaign coincides with the increase in reporting of domestic abuse incidents during January, following the festive period.  

It is being rolled out via digital and print media and will also include mobile phone messaging.

For help and advice about domestic abuse, including information about both police and non-police support across the Devon and Cornwall region, contact:

  1. People who can provide help and support: www.domesticabusehelp.co.uk.
  2. National Domestic Abuse Helpline on: 0808 2000 247 
  3. Call 101 to speak to police. If someone is in immediate danger, call 999.
  4. Victim Care Unit call 0300 3030 554 or visit: www.victimcaredevonandcornwall.org.uk.

"Under-reporting of domestic abuse presents a multitude of problems. On an individual case level it means perpetrators get away with it and victims go unrecognised. The cycle of violence continues - especially in rural areas where episodes of domestic abuse are likely to last longer as it is harder for victims to get away from abusive partners. 

"Anyone can be the victim of domestic abuse. I have been. I chose to report my case to the police and justice was done. 

"I'd urge any victim of abuse to seek help - even if you don't want to report your case to police there is a whole range of help available via the Victim Care Unit and listed on the Devon & Cornwall Police website".

Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez

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