Domestic Abuse Campaign

21 November 2013

Norfolk Constabulary is supporting a
countywide initiative which aims to encourage young people
to speak out about domestic abuse.

The week-long ‘Norfolk Says No’ Campaign
kick-starts from Monday 25 November 2013 with the main focus on
highlighting the consequences such abuse can have
on those aged under 18 and how they can seek help.

Research shows that between 1 October 2012 and
30 September 2013 1,083 high risk cases of domestic abuse were
referred to Norfolk MARAC* – out of
these cases 856 children were affected in some way
by the abuse.

Detective Superintendent Julie Wvendth, who
heads the Constabulary’s Vulnerability and Partnerships
Directorate, said it was crucial young people felt confident enough
to break the cycle of abuse and find support.

“Such figures are a sober reminder of just how many children
continue to be affected by domestic abuse in the county,” she
said.

“We do not underestimate how difficult it can
be for adults let alone children to speak out about
being a victim of such violence or witnessing
it direct, but it is important young people are
aware of what constitutes abuse and the help which is available to
them.

“It is all about early intervention and
stopping the abuse before it is passed on to the next
generation.

Such behaviour is totally unacceptable, regardless of
age, and no victim need suffer in silence at the hands of
their tormentors.”

As well as focusing on the victim
the campaign also aims to prevent young people from becoming
perpetrators of abusive relationships.

Between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2012 there were 12,978
domestic incidents reported to Norfolk Constabulary – of which 3451
were crimes

Between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013 there
were 13,089 domestic incidents reported to Norfolk
Constabulary – of which 3210 were crimes.

Norfolk Constabulary is currently working with
schools, colleges and youth organisations across the county to
deliver workshops to young people on ‘teen abuse’ – also the focus
of the Home Office ‘This is Abuse’ initiative.

“It is about working together to offer long term support”

Det Supt Wvendth

Amanda Murr, who delivers the sessions as well as officers from
the Safer Schools Partnership, said: “The aim is to encourage
teenagers to re-think their views of violence, abuse or controlling
behaviour in relationships while directing them to places for help
and advice.

“It is important to speak to young people face
to face to discuss what in their eyes amounts to abuse, while
highlighting the rights and wrongs of relationships.

Det Supt Wvendth, added:
“Norfolk Constabulary is committed to taking positive
action against domestic abuse which includes supporting victims,
ensuring a full risk assessment is carried out, conducting a
vigorous investigation and charging and convicting the
perpetrators.

“We do not only focus on matters which are
criminal offences; often issues such as emotional and financial
abuse can be subtle but are methods of control which need to
be addressed.

“We work with other agencies to provide the
support needed to break the cycle of abuse for families
affected by such terrifying experiences.

It is about working
together to offer long term support and not just ensuring
victims and their families make it through the criminal
justice process.”

The Norfolk Says No Campaign, which
is being launched by the multi-agency Norfolk Domestic Abuse
and Sexual Violence Board, will run from Monday 25
November until Friday 29 November 2013.

A number of events have been organised
including art displays, workshops and the re-launch of a
‘commitment letter’ signed by a number of agencies, including
the Constabulary and Norfolk’s Police and Crime
Commissioner, to pledge to continue to tackle such abuse.

The campaign comes on the back of
the Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies’ Time To
Stop initiative aimed at reducing rape and sexual
violence in both counties.

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