Jahmene Douglas is supporting Swindon’s Domestic Violence Awareness campaign, after figures showed that there were 2,268 reported incidents of domestic violence and abuse in Swindon last year.
The X-Factor contestant, from Swindon, has talked to the media of his own experience of domestic violence in recent weeks since appearing on the ITV talent show.
To coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Week, agencies in Swindon are asking people in the town to give their feedback on a new draft strategy aimed at tackling domestic violence.
And to highlight the start of the consultation and to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women & Girls, Swindon Mayor Cllr Mick Bray and Mayoress Ruth Bray, tied a white ribbon around a tree at the Civic Offices on 23 November.
The event was also attended by a number of other agencies in the town including, Swindon Community Safety Partnership, Wiltshire Police, Swindon Women’s Aid, NSPCC, Men’s Sexual Health and Swindon’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).
Figures released by Swindon Community Safety Partnership (CSP) have revealed that there were 2,268 reported incidents of domestic violence and abuse in Swindon between April 2011 and March this year.
One in four women and one in six men will experience domestic violence and abuse at some point in their lives. Most incidents usually occur behind closed doors in people’s homes. It is estimated that only one in five incidents will be reported to the police, so the ‘real’ volume of domestic violence in Swindon could be as high as 10,000 incidents per year.
Jahmene, said: “A helpless mother, a lost childhood, lives destroyed. The likelihood is that you know someone suffering from domestic violence but they’re too scared to speak out. Give them somewhere to go and help raise awareness and funding before it’s too late.”
Currently, 30% of the Violence against the Person crimes recorded in Swindon are attributable to domestic violence, which is higher than the national average of 25%.
The Domestic Abuse Reduction Strategy consultation has been developed to protect and raise awareness of domestic abuse within communities in Swindon.
The Swindon and Wiltshire Community Safety Partnerships have produced a draft strategy to outline how organisations across the county will work together to tackle domestic abuse and feedback on the strategy will help improve agencies and organisations so they can work together more effectively.
Cllr Vera Tomlinson, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for a Safer, Stronger Borough, said: “Domestic violence and abuse is affecting many families in Swindon. It can take many forms. It is not only physical violence as abuse can be psychological, emotional, verbal, sexual and even financial. Someone may have been a victim for many years or only recently, too afraid to tell anyone, even family and friends.
“Victims think it is their fault and that they are the only person experiencing the abuse, but we want to dispel that myth and give people the courage to speak out against the perpetrators of this under-reported crime.”
The draft Domestic Abuse Reduction Strategy consultation questionnaire can be viewed on the following link: www.wiltshire.gov.uk/da-strategy-consultation-htm
The consultation will end on 19th February 2013. Paper copies of the draft strategy can be obtained from Swindon Community Safety Partnership on 01793 466512 or Wiltshire Council on 01225 716610.
People affected by domestic abuse can call the Swindon 24-hour Domestic Violence helpline on 01793 610610
or the National Domestic Violence helpline 0808 2000 247 (Freephone in partnership with Women’s Aid and Refuge).
Alternatively, call the Swindon Women’s Aid 24-hour helpline number 01793 610610. In an emergency always call 999.