Police Campaign to stop heartbreak for Domestic Abuse victims this Valentine's day

Monday, 09 February, 2009

Police in Wigan are launching an awareness week to help stop the heartbreak
for domestic abuse victims and their families this Valentine's Day.

Each month there are more than 600 domestic-related incidents* reported to
the police across Wigan - that's more than 20 a day and almost one every hour.

"As Valentine's Day approaches people are thinking about their
relationship, and so we want to urge those suffering at the hands of
abusive partners to report it now and get the help and support they need
before it's too late. There are people in Wigan at risk of losing their
lives as a consequence of such abuse," said Detective Inspector Gareth
Hughes of Wigan division's Public Protection Investigations Unit.

As part of the awareness campaign, a hard-hitting and emotive TV advert will be shown on Channel M and on the skyscraper-screen in Piccadilly from
Monday 9 to Sunday 15 February. The 60-second advert highlights the effect
of domestic abuse on a female victim and her daughter.

Detective Inspector Hughes added: "We want the advert to show that domestic
abuse is not acceptable under any circumstances and that victims need to
come forward to report it to us not only for themselves but for the sake of
their children.

"Victims will be supported from the initial report and throughout the whole
process by trained and experienced specialist domestic abuse investigators
who are available across the borough.

"Futhermore, we can now act on information from family and friends and all evidence from the scene of an incident is fully recorded so that a criminal prosecution does not rely solely on the victim's evidence. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Wigan is recognised nationally for its
pioneering work in this field, and together with the CPS and Wigan
Magistrates' Court we are at the forefront of supporting victims. All
those affected by abuse can be assured that the service they will receive is driven by professionals who care about them."

To contact your local domestic abuse unit call the GMP switchboard on 0161
872 5050.

In an emergency where there is an immediate threat to life or property,
always call 999.

There are also a number of statutory and voluntary organisations supporting victims of domestic abuse. Victim Support and Witness Service, Women's
Aid, WAVE and DIAS all have services specifically for people in Wigan.

In addition, people can contact the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on
0800 555 111 if they suspect a family member, friend or neighbour is
suffering from domestic abuse.

The NSPCC Childline Service is available for children who need help on 0800
11 11 and Action on Elder Abuse also have a helpline for older people who
are suffering on 0808 808 8141.

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