Victims must not feel they have to suffer in silence

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The statistics are shocking enough. Today we reveal how police in Portsmouth get a call reporting domestic violence every three hours.

Sergeant James Noble told East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum that ‘it’s something we deal with on a daily basis’.

Meanwhile domestic abuse charity Aurora New Dawn says 173 people in the city have been referred to it for help in the past six months.

Then there’s the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference, a community response to serious violence, which takes up to 40 new cases a fortnight in Portsmouth.

But, as alarming as these figures are, do they tell the whole story? The fear is that they don’t give an accurate picture of just how many people are being subjected to domestic violence and abuse.

The problem is that it is largely a hidden crime. Incidents happen behind closed doors and victims may not feel able to report what is happening to them.

Of course that should never happen. But, isolated and controlled by abusive partners, it’s understandable how some victims don’t speak out. Frightened and feeling alone, they say nothing.

As a society, we need to do all we can to reach these people and show them it doesn’t have to be this way.

Firstly, we need to raise awareness of this crime and bring it out in the open. Victims need to given greater confidence to come forward.

A city council cross-party working group set up to help tackle abuse has an important part to play.

So does Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes, who has pledged to make tackling domestic violence one of his priorities. With agencies working together, we can help to stop victims from continuing to suffer in silence.

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