A national charity is teaming up with a Cumbrian body to launch a new campaign aimed at helping those suffering from domestic abuse as reports increase by more than 50 per cent.
Crimestoppers is working with Cumbria Neighbourhood watch to encourage family, friends, neighbours or work colleagues who know or suspect a victim of domestic abuse is suffering in silence, to contact Crimestoppers anonymously.
The two charities have worked closely over the last few years on a project making video doorbells available to some of the county’s victims of domestic abuse.
This new campaign – which launches today – is part of a range of initiatives by the charities working together to help make communities safer.
In the last 12 months, Crimestoppers has seen an increase of more than 50 per cent in anonymous reports about domestic abuse from the public in Cumbria.
In February 2020, they had their biggest ever number of reports from the county on domestic abuse.
It’s estimated that a typical victim endures up to 35 assaults before speaking up, and that can be for many different reasons; fear of losing their children; fear of losing their home; fear of not being believed; even thoughts that they are to blame for the abuse.
But bystanders – those in the know whether that’s because they’ve heard or witnessed abusive behaviour, or because the victim has confided in them – can speak up straight away to help stop the abuse and get the victims the support they desperately need.
The campaign highlights the different types of abuse a victim may be subjected to and how to spot the signs. It also provides the public with a quick and easy link from the social media posts taking them directly to the easy-to-use anonymous online form.
Gary Murray, north-west regional manager at the charity Crimestoppers, said: “It is upsetting to see such a rise in reports of domestic abuse over the last year when we have been living with COVID restrictions.
“However, we are encouraged that people are reporting abuse and have confidence in the promise of anonymity that our charity provides.
“Each and every day we hear heartbreaking stories from people who are doing the right thing and telling us anonymously when they think domestic abuse is happening.
“We all need to realise that victims are normally too scared and traumatised to seek help. There was a time when people didn’t know what they could do if they didn’t feel confident in talking to the authorities, but thankfully, those days are over.
“As seen with the rise in reports we have received over the past 12 months, more and more people are willing to come forward, with the assurance that we guarantee their anonymity, that no one will ever know they contacted us.
“Their information, via our charity, help law enforcement bring a halt to the abuse and violence in the home. Our message is clear – by working together, being aware and reporting what we know, together we can help put a stop to domestic abuse, we can save lives.”
Joe Murray, chairman of Cumbria Neighbourhood Watch Association, said: “Over the past 12 months, as our lives have all been turned upside down, the word ‘neighbourliness’ has never meant so much to so many.
“Communities have pulled together to provide vital support and resources. This new campaign builds on that resilience because the level of domestic abuse in Cumbria is inexcusable to the point where, enough is enough.
“People in our communities should never have to suffer in silence because they are frightened to do something about abuse in whatever form it comes.
“There is help and support out there, no matter what the circumstances, and it is important that anyone who knows or suspects that someone is a victim of domestic abuse can contact Crimestoppers anonymously. This is your chance to save a life.”
To report domestic abuse 100 per cent anonymously, visit Crimestoppers-uk.org and fill in the simple and secure anonymous online form or call the 24/7 UK Contact Centre on freephone 0800 555 111.