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'16 Days of Action' campaign launched to tackle domestic abuse

Cambridgeshire Police is launching 16 Days of Action to End Domestic Violence campaign from today, November 25, to encourage more victims to continue reporting abuse after a rise of over 20% in domestic violence crimes. 
Domsetic Abuse
Cambridgeshire Police join White Ribbon Day and launch '16 Days of Action' to tackle domestic abuse(Picture: Cambs DASV)

The campaign, supported by Peterborough Matters, the Peterborough Telegraph and other media in the city, will be running until Human Rights Day on December 10. 

This comes as the force has joined a national campaign to end domestic violence and will be supporting the White Ribbon Day today, which stands for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Officers are urging public to join in and commit to ‘not stay silent’ about abuse.

During lockdown, the government offered additional support to domestic violence charities as calls to helpline number rose.  

National trend data supplied by UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, Refuge, shows that calls for help in the height of the pandemic were showing over 80% increase from 2019.   

At the beginning of lockdown, it reported a 700% increase in calls to its helpline in a single day, while the charity Respect reported a rise of 16.6% in the number of calls concerning domestic violence by women against men. 

In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, between April and October this year, the force recorded 7,196 domestic abuse crimes, a 22.9% increase compared to the same time last year, reflecting a year-on-year increase in reports over the past five years. Highest figures were recorded in August with 1154 incidents of domestic abuse. 

A key aim for this campaign will be encouraging victims and witnesses to continue reporting abuse. As part of this, the various methods of reaching out will be promoted in a special bid to target those who are suffering alone and behind closed doors during lockdown

Detective Superintendent John Massey, head of the force's Protecting Vulnerable People Department, said: "As we go through a second national lockdown there will be victims out there feeling more alone and terrified than ever. Home should be a place of safety but heartbreakingly, for many, it will currently feel like a prison. 

"We have seen reports of domestic abuse steadily increase over the past few years due to a number of factors including online crime reporting. However, I completely appreciate that victims may find it harder than ever to speak out and escape abusers during this time. But I want to stress we are here to help and are working around the clock to keep victims safe.  

"Throughout the campaign we will be highlighting on social media all the discreet ways of reaching out so victims can still contact us if they are stuck at home with an abuser. 

"As well as this, we'll be urging worried family, friends or neighbours to report their concerns and be the voice for a victim who may be feeling powerless. 

"Lastly, I want to appeal to victims directly to say that you do not have to suffer in silence. There is no excuse for abuse and we, alongside other dedicated partner agencies, will be here to keep you safe and support you along the way." 

Today, Det Supt Massey and Cambridgeshire's Acting Police and Crime Commissioner Ray Bisby are joining thousands across the country in making the 'White Ribbon Day Promise' - to never commit, excuse or remain silent about domestic violence. They are encouraging others across the Cambridgeshire to do the same. 

Mr Bisby added: "While the Coronavirus health emergency continues to impact on all of us, for anyone experiencing domestic abuse, lockdown restrictions are particularly distressing. I want to reassure victims that support services are open and available throughout lockdown

"There are lots of specialist services available locally to victims and their families which can be found at www.cambsvictimservices.co.uk but remember that the Victim and Witness Hub are on hand to provide support also."

Cambridgeshire police will be hosting its monthly live domestic abuse related Facebook question and answer session on Friday, November 27. Any victims or concerned loved ones are encouraged to join the hour-long event at 5.45pm where any questions they have can be posted. A team of safeguarding experts will respond straight away. 

If you are a victim or know someone who needs help, dial 999 in an emergency. If victims are in danger and cannot speak, dial 999 then press 55. They will be transferred to a call handler who will attempt to ask simple yes or no questions. If they can’t speak at all, listen carefully to the questions and instructions of the call handler so they can assess and arrange help. More information on this service can be found here 

Below are some of the helpline numbers that can be accesses by victims or concerned members of public:

  • Cambridge Women’s Aid – 01223 361214 
  • Peterborough Women’s Aid – 08454103123 
  • Fenland, Huntingdonshire and Peterborough Refuge – 07787255821 
  • Men’s Advice Line – 08088010327 
  • National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 08082000247 
  • National Stalking Helpline – 08088020300 
  • LGBT Abuse Helpline – 08009995428 
  • Honour Based Abuse Helpline – 08005999247 
  • Cambridge Rape Crisis  - 01223 245888  
  • Peterborough Rape Crisis - 01733 852578  
  • The Elms Sexual Assault Referral Centre - 0800 193 5434