After a terrifying spike in domestic abuse reports during lockdown, the charity Crimestoppers has launched a new campaign, encouraging people in Surrey to be aware of the signs to spot and to speak up about their suspicions 100% anonymously.
During the national lockdown, Crimestoppers saw a 49% increase in domestic abuse reports and comparing the past five months (April to August 2020) with the same period last year, there has been a staggering 70% increase in reports about domestic abuse.
The UN has described the worldwide increase in Domestic Abuse as a "shadow pandemic" alongside Covid-19.
A team of Crimestopper professionals working at a UK contact centre anonymise all information - to ensure the person giving the details can never be identified - before passing it on to police to investigate and safeguard. Whether it is a neighbour, friend, work colleague or relative, no one will ever know who provided the information.
It’s estimated that a typical victim endures up to 35 assaults before speaking up and that can be for many different reasons; fear of losing their children; fear of losing their home; fear of not being believed; even thoughts that they are somehow to blame for the abuse. But bystanders – those in the know, whether that’s because they’ve heard or witnessed abusive behaviour, or because the victim has confided in them - can speak up straight away to help stop the abuse and get the victims the support they desperately need.
Glenys Balchin, Crimestoppers Regional Manager for the South, said:
“Domestic Abuse can be physical, psychological, emotional, sexual or financial. It affects one in four women and one in six men during their lifetime. In too many cases, it results in death with two women murdered by a current or former partner each week. Statistics also tell us that 1 in 5 children will witness domestic abuse. I can’t imagine being that victim, terrified to make a wrong move, say a wrong thing and I don’t want to even try to imagine being that child, scared, defenceless and alone.
“We hear heart-breaking stories each and every day from people who are doing the right thing and telling us anonymously when they think domestic abuse is happening. We all need to realise that victims are normally too scared and traumatised to seek help. There was a time when people didn’t know what they could do if they didn’t feel confident in talking to the authorities, but thankfully, those days are over.
“As seen with the shocking rise in reports we received during lockdown and over the past year, more and more people are willing to come forward, confident that we will guarantee their anonymity, that no one will ever know they contacted us. Their information, via our charity, helps law enforcement bring a halt to the abuse and violence in the home. Our message is clear – by working together, being aware and reporting what we know, together we can help put a stop to domestic abuse, we can save lives.”
Lisa Herrington, Head of Policy and Commissioning, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, added:
“Our vision is for every adult and child experiencing domestic abuse to be seen, safe and heard and free from the harm caused by perpetrator behaviour. Coronavirus has raised public consciousness of the extreme fear and harm that domestic abuse survivors, both adults and children, are suffering all across the country. The control that perpetrators will exert through isolation, manipulation and many other harmful tactics has been increased through lockdown.
“In Surrey, there are an estimated 35,400 victims, with around 3,300 children known to be living in homes where there is domestic abuse. Since the lockdown has lifted, we are seeing the number of people calling Surrey Police for help increase, with an 8% rise in the number of incidents being reported. On average 28 domestic abuse crimes are reported every day. Sadly, these figures are only the tip of the iceberg as we know that less than 1 in 4 victims (and worryingly this is reducing for females) report to the police.”
To report domestic abuse 100% anonymously, visit our website Crimestoppers-uk.org and fill in our simple and secure anonymous online form or call our 24/7 UK Contact Centre on freephone 0800 555 111.
Please note: Computer IP addresses are never traced and no-one will ever know you have made contact. For telephone calls, there is no caller line display, no 1471 facility and Crimestoppers have never traced a call.
If you are a victim and need support then please contact Surrey Domestic Abuse helpline 01483 776822 9am to 9pm, 7 days a week.
If you want to find out more about Domestic Abuse specifically for Surrey, please visit: https://www.healthysurrey.org.uk/domestic-abuse