Police force launches campaign against domestic abuse

A campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse and encourage victims to report offences has been launched today by police chiefs.

West Yorkshire Police is backing the 16 Days of Action campaign, which starts today and runs through December.

It comes as the force has just been awarded White Ribbon Accreditation, an award given to police authorities that demonstrate their commitment to tackling domestic abuse by raising awareness of the issues, encouraging victims to report it and supporting victims throughout the process.  

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This year's national campaign is aimed at businesses and is encouraging employers to help staff who may be victims of domestic abuse.

Police across the region are also running an internal campaign - urging anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse to seek help and report it. 

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster, West Yorkshire Police's Safeguarding Chief Officer Lead, said: "We're delighted to have been awarded the White Ribbon Accreditation and look forward to working closely with the charity in the future. 

"Tackling and reducing domestic abuse continues to be a key priority. Our campaign seeks to remind people that anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, even a police officer. Just because you're in a certain occupation, such as a police officer, doesn't mean you won't be a victim - it can happen to anyone from any walk of life. 

"No matter who you are, if you are suffering from domestic abuse I would urge you to report it. We have specially trained officers working across the force in our safeguarding units. We take all reports of domestic abuse seriously and deal with them sensitively doing everything we can to help and protect those who are vulnerable. 

"This terrible crime often happens behind closed doors and we are absolutely committed to putting the needs and wishes of the victim at the heart of what we do. I would urge anyone who is subject to domestic abuse to contact us or one of our partner agencies. 

"Help is also available for perpetrators - it is never too late to change your behaviour. Our website includes details of agencies that can provide support and advice to perpetrators." 

West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson said: "Domestic abuse is completely unacceptable behaviour and a crime. No-one should have to live with the fear of violence or controlling behaviour, especially not at home. 

"Tackling domestic abuse remains a real focus for me, West Yorkshire Police and our community safety partners. It is a priority in my forthcoming Police and Crime Plan, and here in West Yorkshire I am very pleased to work with several partners, including the White Ribbon Campaign, who focus on helping victims and educating offenders, some of whom can be referred to a perpetrator's programme that I have commissioned over the past 12 months. 

"It’s only right that West Yorkshire Police are making sure their staff are also aware and are looked after. I hope that businesses take notice of this campaign and take steps to raise awareness of the help and support available if they are not already doing so. 

"I know victims can find it difficult to come forward but it’s vital that they do. I urge any victims to report these incidents and know that if they do then we can make sure everybody gets the help they need."

Visit www.westyorkshire.police.uk/domesticabuse for more information.