Sussex people urged to speak-up and report domestic violence and abuse anonymously to help save lives
As lockdown domestic abuse continues, Crimestoppers is reminding the public across Sussex to speak up anonymously to help save lives.
It’s relaunched #YouAreNotPowerless campaign highlights it’s better to be safe than sorry, and that bystanders have options to report abuse in the home anonymously.
Crimestoppers says in the first three weeks of March 2020 in the UK, 14 women and two children were killed as a result of domestic abuse - this is the highest rate for 11 years. Almost one year on, and as Covid-19 restrictions remain in place, the charity is appealing for anyone who is aware of domestic abuse happening to contact them completely anonymously.
Last year, Crimestoppers – along with Refuge who run the National Domestic Abuse Helpline – saw a worrying rise in domestic abuse reports, largely put down to people being forced to remain at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. During a lockdown, home isn’t always a safe place, as victims of domestic abuse are trapped with their abuser, with less chances to seek support from loved ones.
The #YouAreNotPowerless campaign has been running this month across Surrey and Sussex and consists of a hard-hitting short video depicting various scenarios and is being promoted across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter social media channels. More details can also be found at the Crimestoppers website.
Domestic abuse can be physical, psychological, emotional, sexual or financial. Any adult can be a perpetrator, with one in four people reoffending. It affects one in four women and one in six men during their lifetime. In too many cases, it results in death with two women murdered by a current or former partner each week across the UK. Statistics also tell us that one in five children sadly witness domestic abuse, which can impact their physical, psychological and emotional well-being and development.
You may be a neighbour who has seen or heard threatening and intimidating arguments, which may involve abusive language that can escalate into a violent argument where the partner blames the other for their actions, saying they are ‘asking for it’ or deserve the abuse. You may have seen bruising or other visible marks on a friend, family member or work colleague.
A team of professionals working at the Crimestoppers national contact centre make sure all information received is anonymous – to ensure the person giving the details can never be identified - before passing it on to police to investigate and safeguard. Whether it is a neighbour, friend, work colleague or relative, no one will ever know who provided the information.
Previous domestic abuse lockdown campaigns and appeals last year saw numerous victims safeguarded and action taken against perpetrators as a result of anonymous information our charity received and passed on.
Glenys Balchin, Sussex and Surrey regional manager at the charity Crimestoppers, said: “Every day we hear distressing and poignant 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 may be too scared and traumatised to seek help.
“We know that a victim typically endures up to 35 assaults before having the strength to speak 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 somehow to blame.
“Information, given to our charity by people across Surrey and Sussex, helps law enforcement bring a halt to abuse and violence in the home. Our message is clear – by working together, being aware and reporting what we know, we can help put a stop to domestic abuse and we can save lives.”
To report domestic abuse completely anonymously, visit the Crimestoppers website and fill in a simple and secure anonymous online form or call the 24/7 UK contact centre on freephone 0800 555 111, 365 days of the year. In an emergency, always call 999.
The charity has reassured everyone that computer IP addresses are never traced and no-one will ever know who contacted Crimestoppers. For telephone calls, the charity has no caller line display, no 1471 facility and has never traced a call.
Due to Crimestoppers’ anonymity guarantee, the charity cannot take information from victims. Support and help is available to victims of domestic abuse, whether or not it is reported to the police, via the following organisations:
The 24-hour Refuge National Domestic Abuse Helpline is available to call free of charge 24/7 on 0808 2000 247. Web chat and a message facility is also available at nationaldahelpline.org.uk.
Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or via childline.org.uk
Perpetrators who recognise they need to change their behaviour can contact the Respect Phoneline on 0808 802 4040
Crimestoppers is also working with EIDA (Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse) to encourage companies to improve how they support potential employees who have experienced domestic abuse or guide staff on what to do if they have suspicions.