Every day, an average of 60 women report incidents of domestic violence to Sussex police. That works out to an average of 219,000 cases a year. But despite the high number of those who seek help following abuse from their husband or partners many women still suffer in silence.
For those who feel too scared to get help that’s where the White Ribbon Campaign comes in. It is a charity run by a group of men who work towards bringing awareness to violence against women and offering support to those victims who have suffered from mental or physical abuse.
Today marks the charity’s annual White Ribbon day and communities across the county are getting involved by bringing awareness to the issue of domestic abuse.
The Sussex police force have today launched their campaign against domestic abuse. The launch was marked by Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne and Chief Constable Martin Richards who raised a White Ribbon flag outside the Sussex Police HQ in Lewes early this morning.
The campaign aims to encourage women to report cases of domestic abuse before it escalates further. A series of advertising campaigns and events will take place to try to reflect this message and the support that the force is offering to women.
The force was the first in the county to be awarded “White Ribbon status” in July this year following its efforts to tackle domestic abuse.
When receiving the recognition, Katy Bourne said “I am championing the issue of domestic abuse as a priority in my role.”
As part of the campaign this video was produced. The video explains the story of a woman who suffered domestic abuse but went to the police and got support. Although the story may be fictional there is no doubt that many abuse victims can relate to it.
In addition, the police are also working with Brighton & Hove buses, which will now carry posters about domestic abuse on the buses.
Meanwhile school children were also getting involved in White Ribbon day. Year 7 and 8 pupils at Littlehampton academy all held a piece of white card to form a giant white ribbon in the school playground. Lessons were also taken over with the children being informed about domestic abuse in an attempt to raise awareness.
Domestic abuse can affect anyone but it doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence. It is hoped that with the local community and Sussex police’s new campaign that more women will come out and report cases of violence. The message on White Ribbon day is very clear, whoever you are, whatever your situation, there are people out there to help.
By James Dunham.