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White Ribbon Day 2020 – supporting vulnerable women during the pandemic

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On Wednesday 25 November 2020 Police Forces across the UK  will be supporting White Ribbon Day, an opportunity to raise awareness and commit to action to prevent men’s violence against women.

We will be using this as an opportunity to highlight our domestic abuse awareness campaign to remind people that the force will never tolerate domestic abuse, and that help and support is available 24/7, even during the pandemic.

All forms of abuse are illegal no matter who it is aimed at and no matter what type of abuse – psychological abuse, violence, sexual abuse, financial abuse.

We know that a number of different types of abuse increased during the first lockdown as adults and children were able to report once they were away from the offender. We are now in a second lockdown and those who are being abused are highly likely to be fearful as they now know what is likely to happen to them.

‘Janet’s’ story

‘Janet’ broke up from her abusive partner but he began a campaign of stalking and intimidating her, spying on her from the local park, leaving abusive posters up about her in his car and cutting up her clothes and leaving them on her driveway. “I became a nervous wreck” she explained. “After each incident, I would ring the police up in floods of tears, and the officers would be positive and helpful, reassuring me it would be resolved”

After a detailed investigation, her partner was charged with stalking her. ‘Janet’ gave evidence against her partner and endured over 4 hours giving evidence and being cross-examined. He was convicted of stalking her and she was awarded an indefinite restraining order keeping him away from anywhere she may live, work or visit.

“The order has made such a difference. I’m no longer looking over my shoulder and finally feel safe” she explained. “I know that if he were to try anything, I would be believed and the police would go out and get him, no matter what he tried to do. It gives you such a sense of confidence. I can’t praise the police enough – they were really wonderful”.

Detective Superintendent Rebecca Mears, Head of Protecting Vulnerable People said: “We are encouraging people to look out for each other in their communities. Who do you know that may need you to raise the alarm for them if they are being abused? You may be the only person who knows about the abuse or who can act in that person’s best interests. Remember, you can still meet up with one other person during this lockdown, so please use this as a chance to agree a code word with your friend or trusted person so they can get help on your behalf. Look out for unexplained injuries and lack of contact.”

If the abuse is happening now and they are at risk right now, call 999. Alternatively call 101 and report it, or via Crimestoppers confidentially.

Alternative routes to report include the NSPCC and Victims First. Please visit the domestic abuse support services page for more details.

The Silent Solution

Please also see information about the Silent Solution. The Silent Solution is a police system used to filter out large numbers of accidental or hoax 999 calls. It also exists to help people who are unable to speak, but who genuinely need police assistance. You will hear an automated police message, which lasts for 20 seconds and begins with ‘you are through to the police’. It will ask you to press 55 to be put through to police call management. The BT operator will remain on the line and listen. If you press 55, tap or make a noise, they will be notified and transfer the call to the police. If you don’t do any of the above, the call will be terminated after 45 seconds.

 

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