White Ribbon campaign - Spotlight on rural abuse
Running annually from the 25th November to 10th December, the national White Ribbon campaign aims to stop domestic violence whilst raising awareness of the issues concerned. This year Suffolk Constabulary is looking to shine a spotlight on abuse in our rural communities and encourage those affected to seek help under the banner “Domestic Abuse Matters here too”.
The Constabulary supports action to make it clear that domestic violence and abuse should never be condoned or tolerated. Anyone can suffer from domestic abuse or sexual violence – age, gender, social status, race or religion are no barrier. Those living in remote areas may feel particularly vulnerable because of their isolation and it is known that that rural victims are only half as likely to report abuse. Raising awareness of this ‘hidden harm’ is a priority for police and partners.
In a bid to highlight the issues involved, and the support, advice and help that is available, police and partner agencies will be carrying out a number of events and activities over the next few weeks. Suffolk Constabulary has teamed up with Suffolk County Council, Leeway Domestic Violence & Abuse Services, the East of England Co-Op and Ipswich Town Football Club (ITFC) and the Rural Coffee Caravan to support the campaign across our communities.
Suffolk Constabulary is working with the East of England Co-Op network of shops across the county to take the White Ribbon message to rural communities. Campaign posters and postcards detailing help and support are being made available. In support of the campaign two Rural Crime patrol police vehicles have branded with the White Ribbon logo demonstrating a daily commitment to encourage people to break the silence that often surrounds abuse with the message, ‘Talking to somebody is the first step’.
A White Ribbon public engagement stand will be staffed by police and staff at FanZone at Ipswich Town Football Club prior to their home match between 1pm – 3pm on Saturday 23 November at Portman Road in the town.
Information and advice will also be available from officers and staff at the Police Pod at the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fair on Saturday 23 November and Sunday 24 November. The stand can be found at the front of the Cathedral.
Community Engagement Officers are working with the Rural Energy Café organised by the Rural Coffee Caravan which visits rural, often remote communities. Police are joining them at Dennington Village Hall, near Framlingham on Tuesday 3 December 10am to 12pm to talk about issues relating to domestic abuse. (This event will also cover rural energy issues)
The Constabulary has issued 500 white ribbons for officers and staff to wear to show our support and further raise awareness of this key campaign. In addition, we are working with Suffolk Police UNISON branch, Suffolk Association of Women in Policing and the Suffolk Police Federation to raise awareness of the campaign internally in the Constabulary by hosting a number of roadshow events which will provide information, leaflets and advice.
Detective Superintendent David Giles said, “White Ribbon is an additional opportunity to work with other organisations, to raise awareness of domestic abuse and violence, sending a strong message that it will not be tolerated or condoned in any way. We also know that dealing effectively with domestic abuse requires concerted multi-agency working. I am proud to say that lots of excellent work is already being undertaken in this area and our joined-up partner approach is making a difference to help keep victims and their families safer.
“We know that anybody can be affected by domestic abuse, wherever you live or work in the county, and do not underestimate how difficult it can be for people to speak out about being a victim. Living in rural areas can have a higher impact on people’s willingness to report domestic abuse or to seek help and support. I am determined that the message gets through to everyone that you are not alone – help is a phone call away. Talking to somebody is the first step.”
“We continue to work hard to meet the needs of our rural and urban communities across Suffolk, keeping people safe.”
The national campaign can be followed at @WhiteRibbon_UK #makethepromise or #whiteribbonday
For help and advice you can contact police by dialling 101, or the national domestic violence helpline on 0808 2000 247 - or visit our website www.suffolk.police.uk/advice/assault-abuse-threats/domestic-abuse
Are you a victim of domestic violence and abuse? Call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline 0808 2000 247
Are you hurting the one you love? Choose to stop. The Respect Phone line 0808 802 4040
If you believe there is an immediate risk of harm to someone, or a crime is in progress always call Police 999.