Help for domestic violence victims

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The Horsham District Community Safety Partnership is urging victims of domestic violence not to suffer in silence this Christmas.

The partnership is to keen raise awareness of the support available for victims of domestic violence both over the festive period and beyond. It is also asking people to look out for signs of abuse in family, friends, colleagues and neighbours to ensure that domestic violence does not remain a private matter.

Last year alone there were more than two million victims of domestic violence in England and Wales, and each week two women die at the hands of a current or former partner. In the UK more than one in four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.

Christmas and New Year is time of joy and celebration for many people but unfortunately it can also be a harrowing time for those living in fear of violence or abuse in their homes. Support services always notice a sharp increase in the volumes of calls made to helpline over Christmas and the weeks which follow.

Domestic violence can include:

- Threats

- Harassment

- Physical attacks/assaults

- Financial control (i.e. not being allowed to have access to a bank account)

- Emotional abuse (name calling such as a failure, fat, ugly, useless etc)

- Isolation from friends and family

Greg Charman Community Safety Manager for the Horsham District Community Safety Partnership said: “The most telling sign of an unhealthy relationship is a person living in fear of a partner who is controlling and belittling.

“Victims of such treatment will often feel desperate, helpless and even self-loathing.

“The advice we are giving is don’t live with it. Domestic violence is not normal behaviour and it is not acceptable. Get help and don’t put it off.”

There is an abundance of support available for victims of domestic violence or those who suspect friends are victims. Anyone in immediate danger should call 999. Some of the support services available are:

Freephone 24hr National DV helpline – 0808 2000 247 or www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk

Specific service for West Sussex, Brighton and Hove – RISE Domestic Violence Services – 01403 750 499 or www.riseuk.org.uk

Samaritans – 08457 90 90 90

Childline - 0800 11 11

NSPCC West Sussex – 01294 651 840 or www.nspcc.org.uk

Victim Support – 0845 389 9528 (www.victimsupport.com)