PEOPLE are being urged not to be a bystander and to shop those responsible for domestic violence as part of a national awareness raising campaign.
National Domestic Abuse Week is taking place this week and staff from Harbour Hartlepool Refuge had a stand in the central square at Middleton Grange Shopping Centre to help raise awareness around the issue.
The ‘Bystander Campaign’ encourages anyone who knows a friend, loved one or relative who is suffering from domestic violence to seek help on their behalf and staff at the harbour of refuge have called on people not to stand by if a friend or relative is in need.
It comes as shock figures recently revealed Hartlepool Police are called to an average of six incidents of domestic violence a day amid fears the number could rocket further in the build up to the festive period.
In the six-month period to September there were 1,133 domestic-related incidents recorded in town, with 342 crimes committed and worried bosses at Harbour Hartlepool Refuge have previously raised concerns it could rise even further in the run up to Christmas and New Year.
Danielle Chadwick, service manager at Harbour in Hartlepool, said: “These national awareness raising campaigns are massively important as they help people realise that help is out there from agencies and services such as ours to get them away from abusive relationships.
“Domestic violence is obviously a sensitive subject and people don’t always feel comfortable coming forward in public places.
“Therefore we have taken a different approach this year with the Bystander Campaign and there was a positive response from people.”
Harbour Hartlepool Refuge, which has recently been redecorated in time for Christmas thanks to a £50 donation from Dunelm Mill, has six self contained units, as well as a room to accommodate emergency overnight stays.
The refuge can be accessed 24 hours a day, and staff provide support and guidance to women and their children.
While the number of overall incidents is decreasing year-on year, police and council chiefs say tackling domestic abuse remains an “extremely high priority” in Hartlepool.
In 2011-12, there was 2,567 domestic related incidents and 810 crimes. Those figures dropped to 2,261 incidents and 784 crimes in 2012-13 and for the six-month period between April and September this year there has been 1,133 incidents and 342 crimes.
Crimes include violence against the person, sexual offences, burglary, theft and handling stolen goods, criminal damage and drugs.
The figures were revealed at a recent meeting of the Safer Hartlepool Partnership, which brings together crime and council officials.
The Partnership’s Domestic Violence Strategy 2012-2015, first published in 2012, outlines the partnership’s approach to breaking the cycle of domestic violence in Hartlepool.
It sets out the partnership’s four key objectives which include prevention and early intervention, provision of services, partnership working and risk reduction for victims.
For help or information about the services run by Harbour Women’s Refuge call (01429) 277508 (24 hours) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
l Mail view: Page 8