Men and women who abuse their partners are being encouraged to seek help through a new campaign in Wiltshire this summer.
Wiltshire Police, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), Wiltshire and Swindon Borough Councils and the charities Splitz and Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service (SWA) are supporting the advertising campaign which will run through the summer months.
Advertising on buses which pass through the county and posters at all the main railway stations will be supported by digital radio adverts targeting perpetrators, offering them support to help them to stop abusing.
The adverts will signpost those who abuse to local domestic abuse charities - Splitz (for the county) and SWA (for Swindon) - who are part-funded by Wiltshire OPCC to run perpetrator programmes.
We know that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience domestic abuse and Wiltshire Police, Wiltshire OPCC and both local authorities continue to work alongside support services to tackle domestic abuse in our county.
Victims will also still be encouraged to report abuse through the campaign.
Help is at hand
Det Insp Helen Clarke, Wiltshire Police's lead on Domestic Abuse, said: "This in no way takes away from the victim, but our work with our partners includes trying to stop a perpetrator continuing in a destructive cycle of abuse. A cycle where they could eventually end up being arrested and prosecuted - destroying their life as well as the lives of those around them.
"Domestic Abuse isn't only about a physical punch or kick, it can often be about psychological control - tracking a partner's movements, not allowing them access to money or controlling which friends they see.
"Our campaign aims to point those who abuse in the right direction to get help before it's too late.
"We also want victims to come forward to report any form of abuse. Help is at hand."
Preventing further abuse
Martin Parker, OPCC Commissioning Manager for criminal justice and re-offending, said: “It shouldn’t be down to victims to do all the hard work to keep themselves safe and for too long the onus has been on victims of domestic abuse to escape their abusers.
“We need to refocus the conversation and put the responsibility to change firmly in the hands of the abuser.
“Specialist perpetrator change programmes can be life-changing for victims, offenders and children in the home.
“Working alongside victim support services, these programmes can proactively challenge the abuser’s behaviour and help prevent further instances of abuse."
Councillor Cathy Martyn, Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety at Swindon Borough Council, said: “Helping perpetrators of domestic abuse to recognise their behaviour and seek support to help them to change is crucial.
"The last year or so has been particularly challenging for lots of people; if you feel your behaviour has caused harm or upset to your family during the pandemic, support is available across Swindon and Wiltshire.
"If you’re concerned about someone else’s behaviour like your friend or your neighbour, please do reach out to the services available so we can help. If you are a victim of domestic abuse there is support available for you too.”
Councillor Simon Jacobs, Cabinet Member for Public Health at Wiltshire Council, said: “It is imperative that we do all that we can to support the victims of domestic abuse.
"At the same time we should also encourage those carrying out domestic abuse to think about the impact of their actions on others and change their behaviour.
"Support is available to help them change and we are urging anyone who thinks their behaviour is harming those around them to access this now.”
Claire Marshall, Chief Executive of Splitz Support Service, said: "At Splitz Support Service we are pleased to be working with all our partners across Wiltshire to support people who are affected by domestic abuse.
"This campaign in particular is about recognising negative behaviours and encouraging people to call and seek help and support to prevent matters escalating."
Louisa Wrighton, Behaviour Change & Family Liaison Manager, SWA, said: "This programme allows us to work with the perpetrator and focus on and recognise the underlying reasons for their behaviour.
"It is important that a perpetrator recognises the effect their behaviour has on their victims, and by taking accountability for their actions, it will ultimately break the cycle of abuse and prevent further abusive behaviour."
Those with concerns are encouraged to contact police on 101 or 999 in an emergency. Alternatively, people in Swindon can contact Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service by calling 01793 610610 and those in Wiltshire can contact the Splitz Support Service on 01225 775276.