Campaign to tackle domestic abuse

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There were 456 reported cases of domestic abuse in Daventry district in the past 12 months.

With only one in three cases thought to be reported to police, that means the real number of cases of people being abused by their partners at something around 1,300.

A forum comprising the district and county councils, education chiefs, police and Northampton Women’s Aid has identified domestic abuse as a real issue for this district, and they want to raise awareness of domestic abuse, to offer support, to those victims who suffer in silence, in the hope they will gain confidence to seek support.

Next week Northampton Women’s Aid is appealing for action from the residents of the town and villages to tackle this problem.

‘Prevent violence – don’t suffer in silence’ is the message for the week of action.

Domestic abuse is power and control over another person and effects one in three people – abuse can be physical, emotional, financial or sexual.

Ann Bodsworth, joint CEO of Northampton Women’s Aid, said: “It never fails to surprise me, how many relatives just turn a blind eye to the domestic abuse that is happening in their families, in the hope it might go away.

“If there are children in the family, just imagine how they feel – most children in families would hope the other grown ups would help them, even if mum and dad don’t.

“In these incidents the children are the innocent victims, but parents often think their children are not affected.

“Children do not deserve to live in this environment; domestic abuse becomes a secret in many families.

“If you are one of those families, please find the courage to speak up.

“If you are a victim, male or female or you are the abuser, we are here to help you.”

Next week in partnership with police, community safety partnership and county council, Northampton Women’s Aid will be in Daventry town centre to raise awareness of domestic abuse, in the hope that people do not suffer in silence, they will find a voice and speak up.

Ann said: “It does help to know your rights, or know how to help a family member.

“Everyone has the human right to be safe; domestic abuse takes place within an intimate relationship and forms a pattern of bullying and controlling behaviour.

“Domestic abuse does not go away – it tends to get more severe and happens more often over time.

“If you are being forced to alter your behaviour because you are concerned or frightened of your partner’s reaction, it is likely you are being abused.

“If this is happening in your home, or happening to someone you know, come and speak to someone from Northampton Women’s Aid, they will advise you on the support you can get.”

Northampton Women’s Aid can help not only the victim, male or female, they also offer support to perpetrators of domestic abuse.

They also work with families, offering face-to-face, or group work to adults, either victims or perpetrators, children and young people.

Women’s Aid can help victims access other services, point them towards other schemes that may help, and direct them to refuge accommodation available throughout Northamptonshire.

The Freedom Programme is designed to empower, support and develop understanding of healthy and unhealthy relationships for women who have been or are currently in an abusive relationship.

There is a six week programme for young people who are displaying abusive behaviours within relationships.

For perpetrators of domestic abuse there is a course to make them understand how their behaviours impact on others around them and their children, and learn healthy and non-violent coping strategies when dealing with challenging or stressful situations.

Women’s Aid also runs courses to help mothers address the needs of children who have lived with domestic abuse; and a course for children aged 7-11 years who have witnessed domestic abuse.

Northampton Women’s Aid also runs a confidential drop-in service in Daventry every week, giving advice and support. The sessions are on Thusdays from 2pm to 4pm and are held at Daventry District Council’s offices in Lodge Road.

The service is for anyone to access if they are worried, about themselves, or a member of their family.

Ann said: “Together we can help victims to speak up, for more information about the services Northampton Women’s Aid provides – call 08451232311 or Northampton Police on 101 if you are in immediate danger.”