How you can help suspected domestic abuse victims in Bedfordshire

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The signs to look out for – and how you can get support

Domestic abuse is an ‘invisible’ crime says Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner – but there are ways you can help if you think someone might be in danger.

In the final part of a three-part series on domestic abuse, commissioner Festus Akinbusoye suggests ways family and friends can check on someone they think may be a domestic abuse victim.

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“Domestic abuse is an invisible crime as it happens in the home,” the PCC said. “Officers could be patrolling the streets outside, but wouldn’t necessarily see it.

Photo from Getty ImagesPhoto from Getty Images
Photo from Getty Images

“One of the things I noticed from the people who have now come out of the situation is their partner only allowed them to have two or three telephone numbers on their phone. The numbers were controlled and whenever [the victim] was taking calls their abuser was pretty much in the room with them. That person would monitor who they’ve called.

“And let’s say a mother or dad called, if he was not around that woman couldn’t answer the phone, even though he was not there. The level of control was so strong that he could be five hours away and she still wouldn’t dare answer the phone.

“So one thing I suggest is whenever you call your daughter or your son, are they able to answer the phone regularly, or are they only able to answer the phone when their partner is there? Are they limited in what they are able to say, are you able to send anything there?

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“If you’re having a family gathering, are they able to come on their own? Are you able to visit them?

“All of these things I think potentially are a sign that something is not quite right,” he said.

“If the person is not able to report this I would encourage you to call the police anyway. And then see what advice you are given by the force control room, they are very well trained in the signs to be mindful of. They can probably give you some advice on things to check as well.

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“And if you’ve been calling for several weeks and you’ve had no response… a police officer could go and do a welfare check. They can usually spot the sign if someone is not right the moment somebody opens the door,” he said.

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The PCC said a marker may then be placed on the address in case anything escalates in future.

Women being abused can call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge, on 0808 2000 247 for free at any time, day or night.

Other providers of help and assistance can be found on the NHS Domestic violence and abuse webpage. If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police.

If you can’t speak and are calling on a mobile press 55 to have your call transferred to the police.

The Chrysalis Centre is a local partnership whose programme of interventions sets out to break the cycle of domestic abuse making victims, families and communities safer.