Pictured: Happy Mondays’ singer Rowetta and Detective Chief Superintendent Vanessa Jardine Head of the Public Protection Division for GMP
Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner has urged victims of domestic violence to seek help to get out of their abusive relationships.
Tony Lloyd was speaking out after a survey found that nearly half of all women in the UK have suffered from some form of domestic abuse.
The shocking statistic comes from a major report which also found that women in the UK are among the fifth most likely to suffer from domestic violence across Europe.
The report, by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), coincides with a national awareness week on domestic abuse being led by the police service. Greater Manchester Police has joined forces with singer Rowetta to outline the services available to victims and to urge them to come forward.
“These figures highlight in the starkest terms how much is left to be done to ensure that victims of domestic abuse are supported and offenders brought to justice. That 44% of women have been subjected to some form of abuse, whether physical, sexual or psychological, is shocking. Of course, domestic abuse doesn’t just affect women as many men and children suffer as well. It’s a blight on our society, but the good news is that help is out there.
“Raising awareness is essential in trying to eliminate domestic abuse not just in Greater Manchester but throughout the UK. And we must ensure that practical support is out there. That’s why I launched a new initiative to have domestic abuse specialists from Victim Support to ensure that victims get help and support much earlier, breaking the cycle of abuse that thousands have suffered in silence.
“That’s why Greater Manchester Police worked to have Clare’s Law introduced to ensure that if someone is worried about their partner’s past they have the right to ask.
“And that’s why there are a range of agencies waiting to provide support. Details are available at the endthefear.co.uk website.” Tony Lloyd
Earlier this week, Rowetta spoke movingly of her experience at the hands of an abusive partner.
She said: “I met my ex-husband at 16. By the time I was 18 I was married with two children and his aggression towards me got gradually worse. At first it was an occasional slap which was always followed by a plea for forgiveness.”
“It became unbearable after he became addicted to heroin. The violence escalated very quickly and I became more and more frightened for my life. I tried to leave, but didn’t think I had anywhere to go and I lived in hope that he would change as I thought I loved him and he would always tell me how sorry he was afterwards and that he loved me.
“The turning point for me came after one particular night full of beatings and torture I took four sleeping tablets, not to kill myself but enough to knock me out. When I was visited by police in the morning at hospital they advised me not to return home and they contacted to Woman’s Aid and found a place for me in a refuge.
“Love isn’t meant to hurt. Love isn’t violent. Don’t stay for your children. Leave for your children. Leave for yourself.
“There is so much more help and understanding out there now than when I was suffering. Start a plan to leave and end the fear.”
As well as the website, victims can call the Greater Manchester Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0161 636 7525 or report directly to police on 101. In an emergency, always call 999.