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15 October 2010, 15:08 | Updated: 15 October 2010, 15:25
Victims of domestic abuse in West Suffolk are getting an additional lifeline with the help of Suffolk Constabulary’s Victim Care Officers in Bury St Edmunds and the Carphone Warehouse.
The Victim Care Centre is one of three across Suffolk, dedicated to helping vulnerable victims of crime and witnesses including children, vulnerable adults, and victims of sexual assault, and domestic abuse.
Ten mobile phones are being donated to the centre by the store on Cornhill, and these will be distributed to domestic abuse victims on a temporary basis who may otherwise struggle to make contact with others or police in an emergency.
Victim Care Officer Nina Martin has worked with the Carphone Warehouse to obtain the phones, and says they could be the only link recipients have with the outside world or to call emergency services. “The phones will be loaned out to certain people who have no other means of communicating with others - for example victims who have had to move out of their home because of domestic abuse, maybe to a refuge, or someone whose partner restricts their access to money. The phones all come with pre-paid credit to enable recipients to make emergency calls if they need to.
“We are very grateful for the Carphone Warehouse’s support of this initiative, which will provide reassurance to some of the most vulnerable people in West Suffolk.”
Suffolk Constabulary is also encouraging any victim of abuse, whether it be emotional, psychological, financial, sexual or physical, to speak out. In many cases victims are too afraid to report the abuse or believe it will stop on its own.
Detective Inspector Adrian Randall who manages the Victim Care Centre in Bury St Edmunds says, “These mobile phones will add to our capability and through a risk assessment process be allocated to appropriate victims referred to the Victim Care Centre. These phones will in certain circumstances assist in the safeguarding of some domestic abuse victims, and thereby help a victim break free from the abuse they are suffering.”
Victims can be supported when they come forward, and Suffolk Constabulary can take positive action and enforcement when responding to incidents.
To report an incident of domestic violence call the police on 01473 613500 (in an emergency call 999).
Similarly, Suffolk County’s (non Police) 24 hour confidential helpline will also provide advice and support for victims, family members, colleagues and staff concerned on 0800 783 5121 or via the website www.breakthepattern.org.uk
There is also a men’s advice line for male victims - 0808 801 0327.
Those who have abused their partners or adult family members and want to seek help to change their behaviour can call Respect on 0845 122 8609.
Or to find out more information on the support services and initiatives that are available in Suffolk contact Suffolk Co nstabulary’s Domestic Violence Team on 01473 613873.