Lancashire won't tolerate domestic abuse - emergency services, councils, NHS and charities launch joint campaign to raise awareness
Last year, an incident of domestic abuse was recorded every 16 minutes in Lancashire, accounting for 1 in 8 crimes reported.
A county wide campaign launched this week is aiming to raise awareness and understanding of domestic abuse among Lancashire’s residents in order to help those victims.
The ‘No excuse for abuse’ campaign points out couples, parents, grandparents, wider family members, friends, neighbours and colleagues can be affected by domestic abuse.
It also highlights that domestic abuse can include emotional, sexual, or financial abuse -as well as physical - in all kinds of scenarios, not just relationships between partners.
The project, by the newly formed Lancashire Resilience Forum, involves councils, emergency services, support agencies, the NHS and the Police and Crime Commissioner, and aims to highlight the help and support available, and reinforce how, and where, people can report concerns.
Liz Stanton, Refuge Manager at Progress Housing Group in South Ribble - one of the organisations involved - said everyone had the right to live in a safe environment.
She added: “ Alongside our partners, our support to victims and survivors of abuse will be strengthened through this campaign and it means that more victims and people at risk of domestic abuse will know where they can go for help and support in Lancashire.
“We want to get the message out to anyone who is experiencing abuse that there is help out there for them – we can help. It might be that you just need to talk through your situation, or it might be that you need safe accommodation – either way, we are there to listen, day or night.”
Nationally, new figures have revealed the number of domestic killings in the UK are three times higher than last year.
And despite an overall fall in crime, there has been an eight per cent rise in domestic abuse incidents.
A new law came into force last year that makes psychological abuse within a relationship illegal.
The Domestic Abuse Bill now outlaws a number of things that were not previously covered by existing legislation, recognising that abuse can take several forms, including coercive control - the psychological abuse of a partner, which can be committed through threats, restrictions, and physical violence.
It carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “Domestic abuse is unacceptable and I am proud to support this campaign to share that message loud and clear.
“We know that children are present in many of the domestic abuse incidents our officers attend and the long-term damage this can do is immeasurable.
“People need to know that local services across Lancashire are ready to support them during the pandemic and beyond and this campaign is highlighting that information.”
Detective Chief Inspector Mike Gladwin, of Lancashire Constabulary’s Public Protection Unit, added: “We are committed to keeping people safe and protecting those people who need our help.
“We want people to feel safe in their homes and our Neighbourhood Policing Teams are working hard along with our partners to prevent harm and ensure support is there during these challenging times.”
In February it emerged Lancashire County Council would be given £878,000 government cash as part of plans to ensure a consistent service for victims across England.
The move was ahead of the introduction of a new legal duty requiring local authorities to provide “life-saving support” to people fleeing abuse - which the government says will end a “postcode lottery” of services in different parts of the country.
The authority already funds several refuges and last year awarded a new contract for them to be operated by a lead provider for the next three years.
Under the arrangement - with the domestic abuse service, Safenet - the authority requested the development of specialist refuge provision for those whose circumstances are further complicated by drug and alcohol misuse or mental health problems.
Suitable services for male victims of domestic abuse are also expected to be designed during the lifetime of the contract.
Angie Ridgwell, chief executive, said: “All organisations who are part of the #noexcuseforabuse campaign are committed to keeping people safe and protecting those people who need help.”
“Support services remain open for people who may be experiencing domestic abuse; they are ready and waiting to help you.
“There are a range of local agencies that can provide information, advice and support to people experiencing abuse, those who are abusing others and concerned members of the community.”
For more information about the #noexcuseforabuse campaign, help and support, visit: www.noexcuseforabuse.co.uk or in an emergency call 999.