TOO many women suffering domestic violence don’t know how to get help.
That’s the message from the new chairman of a group dedicated to tackling the crime.
Caroline Dejorey has taken charge of the East Hampshire Independent Domestic Violence Forum.
She said her first role must be to tell victims of abuse that they do not need to suffer alone.
She said: ‘The main goal is to get the message out there that there is help available. People don’t know that these services exist.
‘My personal opinion is that domestic violence should be viewed the same as drink-driving.
‘It should have that sort of public profile.
‘There is a stigma attached to being a victim of domestic violence which is often self-imposed because victims don’t want other people to find out about it.
‘It’s a hidden issue and so that becomes a vicious circle.
‘People don’t know what help is on offer and because they don’t talk about it they don’t find out.’
The East Hampshire group recently became an independent body in order to open up new sources of income and funding opportunities.
Mrs Dejorey said she would like to get charitable status for the forum.
The members of the forum work within the domestic violence field, including legal representatives and women’s groups, such as Women’s Wisdom and Women’s Aid.
Mrs Dejorey said her first task is to bring them all together to deliver the strategy to combat domestic violence in East Hampshire and to make sure people know where to go to get the help they need.
For more help, contact the 24-hour Women’s Aid domestic violence helpline number on 0808 2000 247.