In the last 12 months, 2,861 crimes were recorded in Maidstone, which involved domestic abuse, as more people are having the courage to come forward and report the crime.
To continue to raise awareness Maidstone Borough Council’s Community Protection team has teamed up with Kent Police, Kent County Council and local domestic abuse charities and is leading the work in a series of campaigns to address the issue.
Work started with a group of Maidstone GP’s and health professionals at an event this week to highlight that domestic abuse is not just physical violent abuse. The workshop described what to look out for and where patients can go for help.
Martyn Jeynes, Community Protection Manager at Maidstone Borough Council, presented at the workshop, he said:
Domestic abuse isn’t just about physical abuse. Psychological, financial and emotional abuse can also be a concern in relationships where partners exhibit power or control over their partner.
"Sufferers often have their lives dictated to them, abiding by ‘rules’, they’re deliberately isolated from support, they live in fear and they don’t have a voice.
“We want to break the silence on domestic abuse, giving men and women the opportunity to access support and get advice when and where they need it. Our new campaigns are about raising awareness in specific areas where sufferers can access advice in a safe place.”
The workshop explained ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences’, which can have both short and long-term impacts on the health of a child and their ability to develop. Living in a domestic abuse household without effective, early intervention, can restrict the child’s coping mechanisms to deal with emotional stress and increase their risk-taking behaviours or even reduce resistance to diseases such as cancer.
Charlotte King, Kent County Council Early Help Worker and Domestic Abuse Champion said:
“The effects of domestic abuse impacts massively on the wider family unit, particularly where children are involved. Although children may not witness incidents, they are living in a toxic environment and more awareness is needed to provide the right support.
“We want every home to be a safe place it should be for our children to develop free of domestic abuse.”
Nationally 25% of women and 17% of men experience some form of domestic abuse in their lives and six women a week lose their lives to a partner or ex-partner or take their own lives as a result of it.
Anyone experiencing domestic abuse, or who knows someone who is, should contact the national 24 hour Freephone helpline on 0808 2000 247. Or call into ‘The Link’ on the corner of King Street, Maidstone or their local Children's Centre. Alternatively visit http://www.domesticabuseservies.org.uk./
Help is also available every Tuesday from 9.30am to 11.30am at the Domestic Abuse One Stop Shop in the Salvation Army Building 74-80 Union Street in Maidstone, ME14 1ED.