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Domestic Violence Call Outs at 25,000 a Year

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7:02am 20th November 2012

Pirate FM has learnt someone is a victim of domestic abuse in Cornwall and Devon every twenty minutes.

25,000 calls came into police last year. But campaigners warn the real figure is much higher.

Amy from St Austell is the fourth generation of her family to be taken into care. She said: "Leading up to it nobody had actually spoken out. Because it had been normalised in my family it was very difficult for somebody to question it and stop it at an earlier time. Sometimes it takes an outside person to actually have that impact.

"When we start questioning domestic violence it stands out from the ordinary. We need to question it and we need to stand up for people who are being abused."

Support worker Ken Wilkins wants lessons in schools: "We need to be getting into schools to be talking to schoolchildren about domestic abuse. Let them know what a healthy relationship is and what an unhealthy relationship is. Get them to recognise the warning signs that an abusive relationship might be developing.

"Then we can start to actually raise the awareness so that the next generation can actually recognise this abusive relationship situation and be in a position to deal with it because, if we can prevent it, it's going to save a whole lot more angst."

Detective Chief Inspector of the Public Protection Unit, Mike West from Devon and Cornwall Police said: "Domestic abuse is an extremely serious issue and no-one should have to put up with abuse in any form.

"With such a significant number of domestic abuse offences involving alcohol, it is crucial to raise awareness of this serious issue and that help is available from the Police and partner agencies."

According to Women's Aid, the national domestic violence charity, alcohol does not directly cause abuse but there is evidence that where domestic violence exists alcohol is often present. Alcohol is also used by victims as a coping strategy, with women experiencing domestic violence being up to fifteen times more likely to misuse alcohol than women generally.   

Addaction, which provides a gateway to alcohol treatment services across Devon and Cornwall is also supporting this year's Domestic Abuse Awareness Week.

Addaction Manager Sarah Mitchell said: "Addaction Devon Alcohol Service offers a free confidential and non-judgemental service to anyone over the age of 18 who feel their alcohol use is becoming a problem.

"The first step on the road to recovery is to ask for help - the services we offer include one-to-one counselling, group work programmes, family support, relapse prevention and referral to other support and specialist services."

7:02am 20th November 2012

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