A new campaign raising awareness of domestic abuse in Essex, Southend and Thurrock and the support available for victims was launched in February 2016.
The ‘#TogetherWeCan campaign aims to break the stigma of domestic abuse by getting people to talk about it and show their support on social media.
It will demonstrate that tackling domestic abuse takes the efforts of a range of partners and the will of entire communities, and provide people experiencing or witnessing domestic abuse with information and guidance on the support available local to them via the Essex Victims Gateway.
Over 26,000 domestic abuse incidents are reported in Essex every year, with 80 calls a day being reported to police. But the real picture is estimated to be closer to 125,000 incidents a year as people are often reluctant to report incidents.
Councillor Dick Madden, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Children said: “So many lives and families are blighted by domestic abuse every year in Essex so it is important that people know where to go when they feel ready to make changes in their lives and support services are easily accessible. Domestic abuse can affect anyone – men and women, adults and children, rich and poor. We can only tackle the problem if we know it’s there and what help is available, and that’s why this campaign is so important.”
Cllr. Ian Gilbert, Deputy Leader of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council said: “Domestic Abuse affects too many adults and children in Southend and we fully support the ‘#TogetherWeCan’ campaign.
“One of our main priorities is to reduce Domestic Abuse and we will work with our partners to achieve this and I would urge anyone to report Domestic Abuse whether you are experiencing it yourself or if you are worried about someone else. I would also ask as many people as possible to support the ‘#TogetherWeCan’ campaign by sharing relevant posts on social media”.
Cllr Barbara Rice, Thurrock Council’s portfolio holder for health and social care, said: “This is an issue close to my heart and it plays an integral part in the way Thurrock Council works through its Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, the marvellous work done by South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre, SERICC, and the local Women’s Aid team.”
Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said: “It’s time to take a stand and say ‘together we can make a change’. It’s the police’s job to fight crime, keep people and families safe and put perpetrators before the courts, but tackling domestic abuse needs much, much more.
The Essex Victims Gateway is really important because we know people don’t always know where to go for help and might not feel confident in going direct to the police. Essex Police arrests and charges more people for domestic abuse than most other police forces, has used protection orders to keep almost 500 victims of domestic abuse safe and 18 people have been sent to prison for breaching those orders. I want anyone concerned about the situation they or a loved one is in to know that they can contact charities, the police and our partners with confidence. We will help you.”
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “I welcome this campaign and am pleased to support it. I want the people of Essex not only to be aware of the problem of domestic abuse and the real harm it is causing in our communities, but also to know how to help and support those who we may know or suspect are victims of this horrible crime.
“As PCC I made domestic abuse one of my key areas of focus because of the scale of the issue in Essex – with police receiving more than 80 domestic abuse-related calls every day – and the long lasting and serious impact it has on those involved.
“It is also important that we recognise and raise awareness of the fact that domestic abuse can take many forms. It is not limited to physical abuse; quite often the abuse can be psychological or financial.
“We want to use social media and all other ways we can to encourage everyone to talk about these issues and help break down those barriers that prevent victims seeking help earlier. Together we can make a difference. Information about support available in your area can be found on the Essex Victims Gateway website www.essexvictimsgateway.org.”
The campaign is asking for the people of Essex, Southend and Thurrock to come together on social media by downloading and printing off the campaign sign and posting a picture on social media to show their support for the campaign with the hashtag #TogetherWeCan
The sign can be downloaded from essex.police.uk/togetherwecan