Bring an end to suffering

Partner organisations working in Hartlepool have launched a campaign aimed at stemming domestic violence. Pictured, from left, are: Inspector Mal Suggitt from Cleveland Police, Clare Clark, from the Safer Hartlepool Partnership, John Robinson, who is head of family support for Hartlepool Borough Council, Lesley Gibson, chief executive of Harbour, and  Libby Griffiths, from Housing Hartlepool.

Partner organisations working in Hartlepool have launched a campaign aimed at stemming domestic violence. Pictured, from left, are: Inspector Mal Suggitt from Cleveland Police, Clare Clark, from the Safer Hartlepool Partnership, John Robinson, who is head of family support for Hartlepool Borough Council, Lesley Gibson, chief executive of Harbour, and Libby Griffiths, from Housing Hartlepool.

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TERRIFIED victims of domestic violence were today reassured “you don’t have to suffer in silence this Christmas”.

Five agencies have joined forces to issue a strong message to victims – it doesn’t matter which of us you contact, just get in touch and bring an end to your suffering.

The most comprehensive joint programme of support is now available for people living in fear of abuse in Hartlepool, namely:.

l Harbour Support Services offers refuges, advice, support and counselling;

l The police are there to enforce the law;

l Housing Hartlepool tackles issues affecting tenants in its properties;

l Hartlepool Borough Council has appointed a domestic violence specialist worker to help families who have suffered their first ever case of abuse, to sort out any issues before they develop;

l And the Safer Hartlepool Partnership has drawn up a three-year strategy with prevention and early intervention as its targets.

Statistics show incidents are on the up in town. There were 2,846 cases of domestic violence reported in 2010-11 and 38 more in 2011-2012 when the number was 2884 incidents.

Clare Clark, the Safer Hartlepool Partnership representative in Hartlepool, said: “The main aim is to break the cycle of domestic violence and abuse, and bring an end to the untold misery that victims and their families face.”

She said she had known of up to 34 cases in one day.

Inspector Mal Suggitt, the neighbourhood operations inspector in Hartlepool, said: “In my 25 years of experience, I have seen everything from lower levels of people shouting at each other to pretty serious cases of domestic violence.”

He said that, even in the less serious cases, there was “always the potential that something could go large scale and someone could get really hurt.

“We will respond quickly and effectively but we want people to be reassured that they can come forward and get the help and support they need from the partners.”

Lesley Gibson, the chief executive of Harbour Support Services which provides refuges in five towns including Hartlepool, said: “There is no single answer to domestic violence and we need to work in partnership with other agencies such as the police, local authority and housing association.

“Christmas is supposed to be about peace and goodwill to all, but sadly a number of people will face abuse and children will witness it.”

John Robinson, the service head of localities in the child and adult services section of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “One of the things we want to do is recognise early where there is the potential for domestic violence.”

He said the aim was to nip the problem in the bud before it escalates.

Libby Griffiths is the tenancy relations and enforcement manager with Housing Hartlepool which offers advice and support to tenants suffering domestic abuse. She added: “I am not precious about which organisation people phone, as long as they phone someone.”

Anyone wanting help should contact any of the following;

For advice and support contact:

l Harbour 01429 277 508 (24 hours) or text HARBOUR and your message to 60777.

l www.womensaid.org.uk

l In case of emergency, always ring the Police on 999.