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Norfolk's PCC has pledged to do all he can to continue to tackle domestic abuse in the county

Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green highlighted his commitment to tackling domestic abuse in the county as he delivered a speech at the Domestic Abuse Conference organised by Leeway in Norwich.

Addressing attendees at the event today the PCC also urged those affected by such a crime to seek all the help and support they can, "if you experience domestic abuse, of whatever kind, in your life-don’t play his or her game, play yours. Organisations like Leeway will be there for you".

Speaking at the conference Lorne, said "I don’t know from where Leeway took its name, but I chose the other day to google the word “leeway” to see what the dictionary says.  Leeway is defined as the freedom that someone has to take the action they want to, or to change their plans.

Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish? Nothing else. (Epictetus)

The domestic abuser seeks to control, to deny the right of another to live as they wish; and by controlling, to rob the victim of their freedom. This is a terrible affront to decency, to humanity. We are social beings-at our finest we support each other, we nurture, and we grow together in mutual respect. We derive our strength from playing our positive part in the social order, whether within a personal relationship, a family, a community.

Abuse is the weakest expression of strength. It is weakness to destroy what you ought to protect, nurture, and make better. It is anti-social.

Now, the problem is not that the abuser loses control of him or herself. Don’t buy that for a moment. The problem is that the abuser seeks to take control of his or her partner.

In order to change, the abuser doesn’t need to gain control over him or herself. The abuser needs to let go of control over the victim. (Lundy Bancroft)

That can be devilishly difficult. No one is born bad. In considerable part we come into this world a blank sheet. On that sheet, as we grow, are inscribed all the exposures and experiences that life throws at us. Over time we learn and become hard-wired to our circumstances. Some are luckier than others.

Thankfully a great number of us have loving, nurturing upbringings, even when the material circumstances are difficult. I was one of the lucky ones-money was tight in my family growing up, I am sure it was challenging for my parents. I never owned my own bicycle. But I was blessed with loving, nurturing and aspirational parents. It’s not just a question of money.

I know everyone is not so fortunate. Fate can be cruel. Is it any wonder that some children exposed to neglect, to disrespect, to abuse, to chaotic family lives and instability should become hard wired to lives of disrespect and to controlling behaviours?

When such attitudes and behaviours are reinforced by peer group pressures, and malign influences and messages from  popular culture, if becomes all the more difficult to guide young people on positive paths.

To seek to rob another of their dignity, their self-esteem is evil. How anyone can be oblivious to the pain of the victim is impossible to comprehend.

Thank God there are wonderful people in Leeway, and other organisations of the same kind, to help survivors rediscover their innate worth and dignity. I believe Leeway is doing wonderful things to help survivors to use the darkness of their pasts to propel them to a much brighter future. And there is a brighter future that outshines any feelings of hopelessness. Take the first step and you will find a caring, supportive hand to help you to that brighter future.

And for those who feel understandably embittered by the hurt caused them,  I suggest the best revenge is creating, with the help that is available, your own happiness despite a person’s twisted wish to take you down.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

I believe that early intervention, the earliest intervention in face of unhealthy attitudes and actions, is really important. Whether in our homes, our schools, our places of work or recreation, we must not tolerate disrespect. This is a message not only for children. Potential victims of domestic abuse in my layman’s view should not tolerate disrespect from partners, children or anyone else. Heed the earliest warning signs-don’t surrender to the benefit of the doubt if you witness or experience a  persistent pattern of controlling behaviour. Chances are it is not going to get any better, and quite possibly a great deal worse. Leeway and other services of this kind are there for you.

A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for. (Robert Browning) I may be a dreamer, but I set out on a journey when I came to office three and a half years ago to do all within my power to rid our Norfolk community of the scourge of domestic abuse, and to uplift survivors to rediscover their inherent dignity and self-esteem others so cruelly have sought to rob of them.

I’ve got another seven months as your Police and Crime Commissioner to do what I can.

In doing so, I want to build on the lessons learnt from the services already operating in our county, including the success of the whole family approach.

I also am determined to end the postcode lottery for access to services for survivors of domestic abuse. Your location should not determine whether a service is available. Neither should the risk you face.

Every survivor of domestic abuse in Norfolk should be able to get the support they need-first to be safe, then to recover.

I am not alone in this view-and this is why the Government is seeking to pass the Domestic Abuse Bill.

This is a significant landmark that will put into law:
  • Statutory definition of domestic abuse
  • Support and protection of survivors through the introduction of a new Domestic Abuse Protection Notice and Order
  • Help for survivors to give their best evidence in the criminal courts through the use of video evidence, screens and other special measures and ensuring that survivors of abuse do not suffer further trauma in family court proceeding by being cross-examined by the abuser
  • The role of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacob, who will help drive consistency and better performance in the response to domestic abuse across all local eras and agencies.
If you experience domestic abuse, of whatever kind, in your life-don’t play his or her game, play yours. Organisations like Leeway will be there for you.

I am increasing my office’s funding of domestic abuse services from £500k annually to a near doubling (almost £1 million) over the next years."

For more information on Leeway visit: 

The National Domestic Violence Helpline can be contacted 24hrs on 0808 2000 247.

If you, or anyone else, is at immediate risk of harm, phone the police on 999.