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Dorset Police urge domestic abuse victims to seek help
1:57pm Tuesday 29th October 2013 in News
DORSET Police are encouraging victims of domestic abuse to come forward and seek help.
One woman, supportive of the police campaign, has shared her story to encourage other victims, male and female, to seek help and break the cycle of abuse.
Domestic abuse can be reported directly to the police or their partner agencies. The message is clear- help is out there.
Dorset Police want to encourage victims to come forward and seek help from them and specialist organisations like refuges and support groups.
Sandie Marie ran away from home at 17 to be with her boyfriend. Two months into the relationship he slapped her around the face. The violence and abuse escalated for six months to sexual and daily physical abuse which left her hospitalised six times. He controlled her money and kept her cut off from her family and friends.
Sandie said: “I left him knowing that if I didn’t leave he would have eventually murdered me. When I left I contacted the police who took photographs of my extensive injuries. I was covered in bruises, had a fractured jaw in two places and was emaciated.”
She went on to marry and have children, but later divorced.
After her marriage ended she entered into a relationship- everything was going well until the pair moved in together and things changed.
There was no physical violence but Sandie said she was subjected to emotional abuse. Her partner controlled her finances and when she could see family and friends.
Sandie said: “The stress quickly had an adverse impact on my health - I fell ill and had to give up a successful career. I left this relationship to save my own life. This time it would have been at my own hands as I contemplated suicide.”
Sandie said that for months after the relationship ended she was stalked by her ex and that the situation came to a head when he attempted to drive his car into her at a junction. She called the police and was put in touch with Outreach services.
The Outreach worker talked to her about going into a refuge.
She said: “This was a shock to me as this was not what I expected. I felt very raw. At first I didn’t want to talk about my situation with the refuge staff and did not want to engage with them.
“Many women are afraid of the services that are there to help them and enter into a phase of denial.”
She added: “I later saw the opportunity to treat my time in refuge as an opportunity to take time out, concentrate on myself and use it as a retreat. I read positive life changing information and took courses offered to me.
“At no point did I ever consider leaving the refuge and going back. A switch goes off emotionally.
“Refuges are nice places where you feel taken care of, protected and safe.”
When she left she was offered a place on a 14-week pattern changing course designed to help people change their thoughts, feelings and emotions in the hope that they will not enter into abusive relationships in the future.
After leaving the course she set up a survivors’ group to help others, for which she received an award.
In a message to men and women currently suffering domestic abuse. She said: “There is hope and light at the end of the tunnel. Seek your freedom when the time is right for you. Outreach workers can help you to put a plan in place to leave an abusive relationship and provide you with somewhere to go. “
She added: “To anyone who is afraid to speak out I would say - the truth will always set you free. “Always tell the truth because it never changes. Be honest with yourself first and foremost. "Help is out there.”
HELP is available for anyone affected by domestic abuse.
People can contact Dorset Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency and there is a 24-hour National Domestic Violence freephone helpline on 0808 2000 247.
Other useful numbers are:
National Support for Victims:
National DV Helpline (24 hour) 0808 2000247
National Men’s Advice Line (for male victims) 0808 8010327
Local Support for victims:
Bournemouth Outreach Service 01202 547641
Poole Outreach Service 01202 710777
You First (Dorset County Outreach) 0800 0325204
Childline (for children) 0800 1111
Or visit www.dorsetforyou.com/dvahelp for support and information.
POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER Martyn Underhill said: “Policing isn’t just about picking up the pieces and reacting to issues, it’s about being pro-active as well. Everyone has a role to play in recognising the harm that living with domestic abuse has on victims and their families.
“The Force and I, along with our partners, are committed to breaking the cycles of abuse.
“Domestic abuse can be in many forms – not just physical harm, but intimidation through controlling behaviour, harassment and threats. 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.”
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