SUSSEX Police used Valentine’s Day of raising awareness of teenagers who suffer domestic abuse.
It was the latest strategy in the Force’s ‘Talk To Us, We Can Help’ campaign, which is focusing on encouraging people to report incidents of domestic abuse, Sussex Police are keen to hear from young people of both sexes who are experiencing such abuse.
Police say that at present most calls for help over domestic abuse do not come from teenagers, but police and partners believe they can still face problems in their relationships and are seeking to bring this issue more into the open. It may be that today’s teenagers don’t realise that domestic abuse can include intimidating and controlling behaviour, over which they are less likely to approach adults for help.
Detective Sergeant Laurence Cartwright said: “Domestic abuse can be in many forms - not just physical harm, but intimidation through controlling behaviour, harassment and threats.
“ It is difficult for people, perhaps more so for young people who are not used to being in a relationship, to recognise that the way their partner is behaving towards them is actual abuse and is not acceptable. What we would like people to do is talk to us or if they can’t talk to us, then talk to someone. Abuse is something you do not have to put up with.”
This is part of a continuing campaign to encourage more people to report personal crimes such as domestic violence.
In December a 24-hour ‘tweetathon’ was viewed by over 75,000 people and over 8,000 people tuned in during the live web-chats with 129 questions submitted. During the same period more than 110 people reported incidents of domestic abuse, a 100% increase over the usual daily average.
Sussex Policing and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said; “I was elected on a manifesto pledge to tackle domestic abuse and this is one of my key priorities during my first year in office.”
Sgt Cartwright added: “Domestic abuse is a widespread social problem that affects a variety of people. It doesn’t always involve or start with physical violence, and can include all sorts of controlling behaviour. There is a lot of help available, not only from Sussex Police, but 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline on 0808 2000 247.