Sussex Police launched a campaign this week to encourage victims of domestic abuse to come forward before violence escalates.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne unfurled a flag at Sussex Police HQ in Lewes on White Ribbon Day (Monday, November 25) – which raises awareness of White Ribbon UK, an international organisation working to involve men in opposing violence and abuse against women.
Currently more than 60 reports of domestic abuse are reported to Sussex Police each day. The true picture will be much higher as often the abuse goes on ‘behind closed doors’ and the reasons for not reporting are undoubtedly complicated.
Katy Bourne said, “It is very important that partners work together to identify best practice as this will ultimately deliver a better service to victims and encourage reporting of this largely hidden crime. I am particularly delighted that this year’s domestic abuse campaign has involvement from partners across Sussex – all working together to encourage earlier reporting of this appalling crime.
“I am pleased that my role in driving Sussex Police’s response to dealing with victims of domestic abuse during my first year in office, resulted in the Force gaining White Ribbon status – the first police force in England and Wales to achieve this award.”
Martin Richards, Chief Constable of Sussex, said, “Domestic abuse can take many forms – not just physical harm, but intimidation through controlling behaviour, harassment and threats. It is sometimes difficult for people to recognise that the way their partner is behaving towards them is actual abuse and is not acceptable. We ask people to talk to us in confidence by calling us at any time, or if they can’t talk to us, then talk to someone.”
In 2012 Sussex Police recorded 6,376 crimes of domestic abuse and the reporting trend is increasing.
22 November onward - Eastbourne - All public facing officers and staff at Eastbourne will be wearing a white ribbon, and Eastbourne police cadets who will be wearing them at the annual police cadets’ parade at force HQ in Lewes on that day. Eastbourne members of the East Sussex Fire brigade , Eastbourne District councils neighbourhood first officers, Eastbourne Homes housing officers, Eastbourne Arndale centre security officers, street pastors, night club security officers and club staff wil also be wearing white ribbons. White ribbon campaign posters will be displayed in the work places of all the organisations. The street pastors will also hand out white ribbon wrist bands out outside nightclubs to highlight and encourage discussion on Saturday 23 and Saturday 30 November. Eastbourne police cadets will also be having a lesson session about the causes and effects of domestic abuse, and will all pledge to White Ribbon on 27 November.
23 November - 10am to 2pm - Hailsham, Uckfield, Crowborough - supermarkets - “These hands are not for hurting” banners being distributed..The public are invited to put handprints on the banner to support the white ribbon campaign.
30 November - 2.30pm - Seaford - White Ribbon match at Seaford Rugby Club fixture v Eastbourne. Sarah Findlay (Lewes District Council) and Lindsay Jordan (Southdown Housing) attending.
21 December (to 2 January) Sussex Police Operation Cranberry annual dedicated domestic abuse units on patrol, equipped with body worn video.