Woman escapes domestic violence, local police say they will support survivors "every step of the way"

Kingsbridge Police have been supporting a woman escaping a violent domestic situation and are encouraging others to speak out. 

Domestic violence has been increasing in the South Hams, and nationally, during lockdown

The woman reached out to the police and alleged that she had been the victim of domestic violence for many years. She had finally worked up the courage to contact the authorities and speak out about her abuse.Her partner was arrested and later bailed pending further investigations, with conditions not to go anywhere near her or the children.

One in three women aged between 16-59 will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives  

One in three women aged between 16-59 will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives and in the year ending March 2019, an estimated 2.4 million adults aged 16-74 experienced domestic abuse in the last year, 1.6 million women and 786,000 men. Sadly, two women a week are killed by a current or former partner in just England and Wales alone. Police will often check locks are secure, make sure survivors have a mobile phone that the perpetrator doesn't have access to and can install a panic alarm at the home address in order to make those who report domestic violence are safe, but often their funding doesn't stretch to much more.  

Devon and Cornwall Police

Lockdown, with not being able to get out of the house and escape a situation, has made some of these cases worse. A spokesperson for Kingsbridge Police said just locally they had seen "large increase" in domestic violence calls during the pandemic.

Kingsbridge Police said just locally they had seen "large increase" in domestic violence calls during the pandemic 

The South Hams has recently been struck by tragedy after Hollie Kerrell, who grew up in Slapton before moving to Wales, was murdered by her recently estranged ex-husband Chris in 2018. 

If you are in a violent relationship and thinking of leaving, Women's Aid gives this advice: "It is your decision whether or not you tell people that you have suffered domestic abuse; but if you believe you may still be at risk, it might increase your safety if you tell your family and friends, your children’s school, and your employer or college what is happening, so that they do not inadvertently give out any information to your ex-partner. They will also be more prepared and better able to help you in an emergency.

"If you have left home, but are staying in the same town or area, these are some of the ways in which you might be able to increase your safety:

  • Try not to place yourself in a vulnerable position or isolate yourself.
  • Try to avoid any places, such as shops, banks, cafes, that you used to use when you were together.
  • Try to alter your routines as much as you can.
  • If you have any regular appointments that your partner knows about (for example, with a counsellor or health practitioner) try to change your appointment time and/or the location of the appointment.
  • Try to choose a safe route, or alter the route you take or the form of transport you use, when approaching or leaving places you cannot avoid – such as your place of work, the children’s school, or your GP’s surgery.
  • Tell your children’s school, nursery or childminder what has happened, and let them know who will pick them up. Make sure they do not release the children to anyone else, or give your new address or telephone number to anyone. (You may want to establish a password with them, and give them copies of any court orders, if you have them.)
  • Consider telling your employer or others at your place of work – particularly if you think your partner may try to contact you there.
You can find more information and advice from Women's Aid or Refuge, if you are worried that your communications might be being monitored, only access these websites from a device that is not shared with your abuser. You can access the internet on a public computer from public libraries. There are open libraries in Kingsbridge, Dartmouth and Ivybridge. 

A spokesperson for Kingsbridge Police said: "If you are suffering from domestic abuse we can help you. Find the courage, speak out, break the cycle. We will support you every step of the way."

If you are suffering from domestic abuse we can help you. Find the courage, speak out, break the cycle. We will support you every step of the way

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