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Today is International Women’s Day and the Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership is celebrating women who have used their experiences of domestic abuse to make a difference to victim’s lives.
Detective Clare George from Hertfordshire Constabulary is taking to social media today to talk about her experiences and share a story about the support she was able to give a female victim of abuse.
George, as she is known by her colleagues, joined the police in 1990 and has spent much of her time in service tackling domestic abuse and has supported well over 100 women who have been victims of abuse. She currently works in the Constabulary’s Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit (DAISU), based in Hatfield.
“I have a passion for helping the vulnerable and providing support that empowers them so that they may live a life free from the torment of daily fear,” she says. “I encourage women to report about abuse they have experienced; I want to give them the confidence that the police will take positive action to protect them and their children. It’s all about putting the victim first.
“This ultimately helps to break the cycle of abuse and the power that the abuser has. I have enabled many victims to embark on a new life, free of fear. I love the thank-you notes I receive. It makes my day and the job I do so worthwhile, even after all of these years.”
Melissa Bingham is the chair of the Stevenage Domestic Abuse Forum which is made up of survivors, she explains; “My role is to provide support and advice to victims who come through the Stevenage Against Domestic Abuse (SADA) service, we deal with victims of domestic abuse on a daily basis. I was a victim of domestic abuse for seven years and I felt very alone and isolated; it’s not like that anymore in Stevenage, there are people who genuinely care and want to help, people who have been through it and understand. The service is totally victim led and so I’d encourage anyone experiencing domestic abuse to report any issues as help is available.
“I have met some wonderful women who are truly inspirational and it's empowering on a daily basis to watch these women regain their lives and go on to achieve their full potential. It's more than a job it's an honour.”
Colette Wyatt-Lowe, Executive Member for Adult Care and Health said: “This year marks 100 years since women got the vote, times have changed in so many ways; however sadly we’re still seeing alarming numbers of female victims of domestic abuse.”
“We understand that anyone, no matter their gender can be affected by domestic abuse, but today I urge all women who are experiencing abuse right now or who know someone who may be a victim to speak out, help is available to you in Hertfordshire. Whether it’s yourself, your mother, daughter, friend or colleague, it’s imperative that as women we take care of each other.”
DAISU Detective Chief Inspector Dave Newsome said: “In the last 100 years we have seen attitudes towards women and the abuse committed against them change radically. However many women still fear the consequences of reporting to police and as a result continue to suffer in silence. Today people around the world will be celebrating the courage and determination of the women in our society. I ask women who are suffering from abuse to have the courage to reach out for support.”
“Our focus is first and foremost to protect you and your family from abuse, whether it be violence, coercive and controlling behaviour or other. I have a team of specialist officers who will support you and will find ways to help you reach your goals towards living an abuse free life.”
Also launched by Government today, is the joint Home Office and Ministry of Justice consultation on the new Domestic Violence Bill which will remain open until 31 May 2018. Setting out the Government’s approach to tackling domestic abuse, it seeks to address societal responses at every stage; from prevention through to rehabilitation. You can make your voice heard by visiting the UK Government website.
If you or someone you know is being affected by domestic abuse, please visit www.hertssunflower.org or speak to someone from the Herts Domestic Abuse helpline in confidence for free help, advice and support on 08 088 088 088 (open weekdays 9am-9pm and weekends 9am-4pm). In an emergency situation, always call 999.