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Police launch major campaign as domestic violence figures rise
DOMESTIC violence has increased in Dorset with more than 6,200 incidents reported in the first nine months of this year.
The huge figure is almost as many as recorded in the whole of 2010 and numbers have risen since then.
There were 7,261 reports in 2011, 8,173 last year and 6,236 from January to September this year.
Now police have launched a major campaign, urging victims to come forward and warning offenders: “We will seek you out.”
Figures suggest roughly one in four women will suffer domestic abuse at some point in their lives.
Dorset Police has joined forces with support groups to give victims the courage to speak out.
The aim is to give victims the chance to change their lives and to ensure offenders are punished.
“Detective Superintendent Andy Clowser, pictured, head of Public Protection at Dorset Police, said: “It is really important that victims know there is a wide range of support available to them, not just through the police but through organisations that include the local authorities and a number of charities.
“I would strongly encourage anyone suffering domestic abuse to come forward and report it so that action can be taken to keep them safe.”
And he warned offenders: “We will seek you out and you will be held accountable for your actions.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill added: “Everyone has a role to play in recognising the harm that domestic abuse has on victims and their families.
“The force and I, along with our partners, are committed to breaking the cycles of abuse.
“Policing isn’t just about picking up the pieces and reacting to issues, it’s about being pro-active as well.”
One woman's ordeal
Sandie Marie ran away from home aged 17 to be with her boyfriend. Two months into the relationship he slapped her around the face.
For the next six months the violence escalated to sexual and daily physical abuse which left her hospitalised six times.
He controlled her money and kept her cut off from her family and friends.
Speaking of her ordeal, Sandie said: “I left him knowing that if I didn’t leave he would have eventually murdered me.
“I was covered in bruises, had a fractured jaw in two places and was emaciated.”
Despite going on to marry someone else and have children, Sandie then suffered emotional abuse, became ill and lost her career.
Her husband tried to run her over when she left him.
It was then that she contacted police and was put in touch with Outreach services who suggested she went into a refuge.
After Sandie left the refuge she was offered a place on a pattern changing course.
These sessions take place over 14 weeks and are designed to help women change their thoughts, feelings and emotions in the hope that they will not enter into abusive relationships in the future.
She has since started a survivors’ group and has received a community safety award.
National Domestic Violence helpline: 0808 200 0247
National Men’s Advice Line (for male victims): 0808 801 0327
Bournemouth Outreach Service: 01202 547641
Poole Outreach Service: 01202 710777
You First (Dorset County Outreach) 0800 032 5204
Childline (for children): 0800 1111
Victim's bureau service launched by PCC
THE Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset has welcomed the government’s new Victims Code.
The Code will ensure that victims are entitled, for the first time, to read their Victim Personal Statement in court.The judge will then take this in to account when determining the sentence.
PCC Martyn Underhill said: “It is important that victims of crime receive a bespoke service, tailored to their individual needs. That is why I am launching the Dorset Victims Bureau on November 19.
“Victims are at the heart of my work and I will always put them first.
“The Dorset Victim’s Bureau is just one of only two in England and Wales.
“By next year the Bureau will grow into the first multi-agency victim’s service in the country, encompassing all of the criminal justice agencies, meaning that victims will be updated and supported as they travel the whole criminal justice journey.
“The Bureau next year will also assist those victims who, for various reasons, do not pick up the phone to report their crime to the police.”
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