Bedfordshire Police is calling for the public to speak out over concerns of domestic abuse, as they support the international 16 Days of Action campaign.
The force, together with local councils, charities, support services and organisations, is taking a stand against domestic abuse against both women and men during the campaign which started on Saturday, November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to Sunday, December 10, Human Rights Day.
Officers will be raising awareness of domestic abuse to encourage people to report concerning behaviour and give victims the chance to end the cycle of abuse.
Detective Chief Inspector Aaron Kiff, force lead for domestic abuse, said: “Often people won’t report concerns to us as they don’t want to interfere in other people’s lives, they don’t want to appear to be that nosey neighbour or to be prying in other people’s business. But the truth is speaking out and providing us with the information could be someone’s lifeline.
“We understand you may not feel comfortable to tackle someone’s actions but alerting us to this behaviour can help someone enduring an abusive relationship get the support they need. Domestic abuse is a very hidden crime, but abusers often continue to exercise their control and exert fear in public.
“It is important we all take action against controlling, threatening or violent behaviour and help give victims a voice. You are our eyes and ears, please don’t keep your concerns to yourself. Chances are if it doesn’t feel right it isn’t.”
As well as the awareness messages and blog posts online there are different events taking place in the county, including a pan-Bedfordshire event for professionals at The Incuba, in Dunstable, on Thursday, November 30, and information stands and a bake sale at Watling House, in Dunstable, on Monday, December 4.
To report domestic abuse call Bedfordshire Police on 101.
Councillor Carole Hegley, of Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “The 16 Days of Action are a very important way of raising awareness of domestic abuse as well as the local support services available.
“We all need to work together to support victims and help prevent these crimes. And hopefully this will encourage anyone who feels trapped in a violent relationship to take the first steps to escaping.”
Councillor Naseem Ayub, of Luton Council, said “We are supporting the 16 Days of Action against domestic violence campaign through social media, pushing the point that anyone could know a hidden victim.
“Domestic abuse isn’t just about physical violence. It also includes psychological, sexual, financial and emotional control and abuse. Throughout the 16 Days we want to highlight the various forms of abuse and make it clear that it can affect anyone, from any background. There is no ‘average type’. And we want to really stress that if you are a hidden victim, there are people who will listen, be it a nursery school worker, a friend, a GP or someone you work with.”