Sussex Police in crackdown on domestic abuse

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Sussex Police is continuing a crackdown on domestic abuse - including a focus on male victims.

Over the past two weeks a male-focused advert has been running on the digital screen at Brighton railway station and will continue into the New Year. Advertising will also continue to run inside buses across Sussex as well as radio advertisements broadcast on Heart FM, Bright FM and other local radio stations.

Detective Chief Inspector Ali Eaton, head of safeguarding and investigations for East Sussex, who is leading the campaign, said: “Domestic abuse can have a devastating impact on victims and their families. It is estimated that one in four women and one in six men will experience domestic abuse at some point in their life.

“It is a sad fact that men don’t often see themselves as victims and therefore domestic abuse against men is under-reported. There is a real stigma around this; men often think they will not be believed and may also think they are protecting their children by staying in the family home. This is not the case - domestic abuse tends to escalate over time and increasingly involves children, whether they are witness to the abuse or are abused themselves. We urge all men, including those in same sex relationships, who are experiencing domestic abuse to seek support.”

There are specialist services for male victims of domestic abuse nationwide, such as Men’s Advice Line, ManKind and DVmen.

Domestic abuse affects all social groups regardless of age, gender, sexuality, race or religion and is more than just physical violence; it can involve threatening or coercive behaviour, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse.

On Tuesday (December 29) a new domestic abuse offence of Controlling or Coercive Behaviour took effect - recognising the severity of mental, emotional and exploitive behaviour.

Since December 21, dedicated police patrols have been responding to reports of domestic abuse over the Christmas and New Year period, with 549 reports across Sussex in nine days. Officers are equipped with body-worn video cameras to help secure vital evidence as part of the force’s year-round campaign to encourage reporting of such incidents.

Last year Christmas and New Year period was once again a peak period for reports of domestic abuse in Sussex, although there was a welcome slight decrease in the number of incidents compared with previous years - 823, down from 940 the previous year. But at the same time, 305 of those were recorded as specific crimes, an increase of 100 over the previous year and arrests over the period doubled, from 141 to 262.

For advice and support about domestic abuse visit www.sussex.police.uk or call 101 or 01273 470101