Increase in domestic abuse reports

Heart's got hold of figures showing more people are coming forward about domestic abuse in the Thames Valley.

Thames Valley Police received 12,516 reports over the last year (2009-2010), which is 1570 more than two years ago (2007-2008).

We caught up with Eleanor Pitts from Berkshire Women's Aid , who said this an important figure to look at:

"We don't think about whether domestic abuse is increasing or decreasing. What we're thinking of is whether we can increase reporting. And it doesn't matter who people report to. Whether it's us, the police, midwives or doctors."

Eleanor also had an important message for any men or women who are suffering from domestic abuse:

"Don't wait the average of 35 times before seeking help. It's absolutely truthful to say that unless people do something it always gets worse."

We're looking at these figures today because across the world people are wearing white ribbons to raise awareness of domestic abuse as part of national "White Ribbon Day" .

Events are taking place all over the Thames Valley to mark the day of awareness.

In Basingstoke, police and other organisations that support victims of domestic abuse will be outside the Willis Museum from 10am until 4pm to offer help and advice.

Across Oxfordshire, information will be available in GP surgeries, health centres, district and county council offices and police stations to raise awareness of the help and support that’s on hand for those affected by violence.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Gration, the Protecting Vulnerable People lead for Oxfordshire from Thames Valley Police, said:

“White Ribbon Day is another opportunity to raise awareness of both domestic abuse and violence towards women and children. There is some fantastic work going on across the country by a number of agencies, but Oxfordshire as a partnership should be particularly proud of the work they have done to date.

“Thames Valley Police is committed to encouraging victims to come forward, supporting them through the criminal justice process and working with them to help manage the risks to both adults and children affected. We will continue to work with our partners in both the public and voluntary sectors in supporting this agenda.”

Michelle Plaisted-Kerr, Oxfordshire’s Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator, said:

“There is a whole range of services to support those affected by domestic abuse, including a local helpline 0800 731 0055 (10am to 4pm), and our website www.amiabused.com which provides support and advice for those affected by all forms of abuse and professionals working with them.”

Romy Briant, Independent Chair of the Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Strategic Group said:

“Abuse is much more common than you think; don’t blame yourself; you are not alone, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Calls to the Oxfordshire helpline won’t appear on your phone bill, and you can access the website www.amiabused.com for advice and information.”

"The cost of services of domestic abuse in this county is £74 million; when the human and emotional costs are added, we are looking at £308 million for Oxfordshire alone. "

For information on how to report domestic abuse across the country, visit the national Women's Aid website

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