Don't blame it on booze and stress - ending the myths and excuses around domestic abuse

Friends and family are being urged to make domestic abuse everyone’s business in a new campaign setting out how to help victims.

Picture from PA
Picture from PA

A series of posters and leaflets aim to dispel a range excuses and myths around the causes of domestic abuse, such as blaming it on stress or increased alcohol consumption.

It also encourages people not to make excuses for abuse, and take action by following a series of safe steps. Advice includes making suggestions to the victim, not demands, and sharing support information, if safe to do so.

The campaign comes after a survey of specialist violence against women and girls service providers revealed widespread concern over the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

A copy of the campaign poster

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Across the region, help groups said they are braced for a big demand on services, both during the different phases of the lockdown and in the recovery phase.

While some services reported an immediate increase in demand, many noticed a fall in calls and pleas for help as people trapped at home with their abuser struggled to reach out.

Service providers have also warned of increased demand around welfare issues, with access to food and food banks and fear of poverty and economic hardship a constant pressure.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “We all wanted a campaign to speak directly to the neighbour who can hear the intimidating voice hurling abuse on the other side of the fence, or the mother worried why her daughter’s stopped texting or messaging on the family thread.

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“It’s these people who have suspicions and concerns that we are reaching out to. If you have a feeling that something isn’t right, the chances are it isn’t.”

Becky Rogerson MBE, director at Wearside Women in Need, added: “We know that many people suffering abuse make that first disclosure to a close family member, a good friend, a work colleague or a trusted neighbour.

“We want to ensure that those trusted with that sensitive information know what to do about it, how to help, and how to make a difference.

“Don’t wait until something tragic happens, early intervention is key as domestic abuse escalates over time. Lets make the ‘new normal’ abuse-free.”

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