Standing together against domestic abuseA campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse and increase reporting and referrals to agencies is launched today.
It will aim to reach those responsible for abuse, those who experience it and friends and family members who may be aware of it.
Posters using the strapline #IWalkedAway will be used will be used across the county to highlight how others have left abusive situations and made new starts.
Laura McGillivray, chair of Norfolk County Community Safety Partnership, said: “Anyone can be affected by domestic abuse, it may be you, or a friend or a member of your family.
“Don’t sit on it or keep it quiet, please seek help. There are agencies you can go to for help in turning your life around.”
Domestic abuse can affect anyone and takes all kinds of forms – physical, emotional, psychological, financial, or sexual. Much of it goes unreported.
In March this year there were 1,115 domestic abuse crimes and incidents reported to Norfolk police, of which 407 were crimes and 72 deemed of significant risk to be referred to the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC).
Every year, domestic abuse costs Norfolk an estimated £60million, of which £50million is borne by public health services.
Councils, health services, police and other public and voluntary sector organisations from across Norfolk are uniting for the initiative led by the NCCSP, which aims to encourage earlier intervention, reduce stigma and minimise harm.
Louise Smith, director of public health for Norfolk, said: “So many people and families in Norfolk have their lives blighted by domestic abuse, but help and support is available and together we can reduce it.”
Norfolk Police Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: “Domestic abuse can take many forms and we do not underestimate how difficult it can be for people to speak about being a victim of such violence.
“Identifying and protecting those people at risk is a priority but it’s equally important they are aware of what constitutes abuse and the help which is available to them.
“We’ve invested a lot of energy into raising awareness and understanding about these crimes, building trust in our ability to investigate and prosecute offenders, however I believe these crimes are still significantly underreported.
“Abuse, be it mental or physical, is totally unacceptable and no victim need suffer in silence at the hands of their tormentors.”
Former Norwich City and Northern Ireland footballer Paul McVeigh is also among those backing the initiative.
“I am proud to be a white ribbon ambassador and to support this campaign,” he said.
”Domestic abuse can make people feel isolated and helpless, but the good news is there is support out there to help people walk away and make a fresh start. If you are experiencing abuse or know a friend or family member who is, then please reach out to the help that is available.”
For more information about domestic abuse and the campaign, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/safety/domestic-abuse and look out for the hashtags #IWalkedAway and #IsItYou?
You can also call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 (24 hours).