Gloucestershire stands against Domestic Abuse
Gloucestershire County Council and the Domestic Abuse Local Partnership Board are continuing their work to prevent violence towards women and girls by taking part in the international awareness campaign, 16 Days of Action, and aiming to become ‘White Ribbon’ accredited.
At its meeting in November, Gloucestershire County Council agreed to work toward becoming a ‘White Ribbon’ accredited organisation, in a commitment to do more to end male violence against women and girls (VAWG). Around 80 per cent of domestic abuse victims in Gloucestershire are female according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) so the ‘gendered nature’ of domestic abuse and associated crimes should be recognised.
Council also agreed the important role Gloucestershire’s schools play in preventing VAWG by educating pupils about misogyny, equality, and healthy relationships. Schools are encouraged to sign up to the White Ribbon initiatives to enhance lessons and help bring boys and men into the conversation about preventing harm.
The 16 Days of Action starts on 25 November; the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls. Over the next few weeks, the county council and partners such as GDASS (Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service), the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and Gloucestershire Constabulary will be working to raise awareness of domestic abuse and VAWG and the support available to victims and their families.
Partners will share information on the signs and types of domestic abuse, how to get support, and how bystanders can play a role in preventing harm.
Domestic abuse can impact anyone and can have harmful effects on a person’s health, wellbeing and their future. The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) found that for the year ending March 2020, approximately 7 in 100 women and 4 in 100 men aged 16-74 years had experienced domestic abuse in the last year. During 2020/21, domestic abuse accounted for 14 per cent of all crime recorded by Gloucestershire Police, a slight increase from the year before, according to the CSEW.
Cllr Kathy Williams, cabinet member Adult Social Care Delivery said, “We believe that women and girls deserve to live free from intimidation, violence and harassment. The county council has condemned all violence against women and girls, and we will continue to work with partners to tackle the issue as well as understanding the underlying causes. No one should feel unsafe, especially at home. Please reach out if any of the signs resonate with you; you are not alone.”
The campaign is supported by GDASS (Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service) who receive on average 492 referrals a month from individuals seeking support ranging from advice over the phone and one to one support to assisting people who are fleeing violence with emergency accommodation. Everyone, regardless of their gender or sexuality, can approach GDASS for support, whether they themselves are experiencing violent and abusive behaviour at home or have concerns about someone else.
Tessa Davis, Service Manager for GDASS, said, “We see first-hand the devastating effects domestic abuse can have on a person and their children. Abuse is not just physical like lashing out or punching a partner. It can be taking away your freedom to see friends and family, dictating how you spend your money, and even using the threat of taking your children away to manipulate you. If you are concerned about how your partner or a family member treats you, GDASS is here to help; you are not alone.”
Gloucestershire has a Domestic Abuse Local Partnership Board which is working to understand and prevent both adults and children experiencing the trauma from domestic abuse, however many things go unseen and unreported as domestic abuse can take many forms, including physical, economic, sexual, emotional abuse and coercive control.
Last year, the Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Local Partnership Board launched a new countywide Domestic Abuse Strategy outlining how organisations will work together to prevent domestic abuse and improve services and support for victims. You can read more online at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/public-health/domestic-abuse-strategy/
White Ribbon is the UK’s leading charity engaging men and boys to end violence against women and girls, working to prevent harm by addressing its root causes. The organisation encourages everyone, especially men and boys, to make the White Ribbon Promise to never use, excuse or remain silent about men’s violence against women. Find out more at www.whiteribbon.org.uk
What is domestic abuse?
The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 defines Domestic Abuse as the behaviour of a person (A) towards another person (B) is domestic abuse if -
- a) A and B are each aged 16 or over and are personally connected to each other, and
- b) The behaviour is abusive.
Behaviour is ‘abusive’ if it consists of any of the following: physical or sexual abuse; violent or threatening behaviour; controlling or coercive behaviour; economic abuse; psychological, emotional or other abuse.
This behaviour can consist of a single incident or a course of conduct. Further detail is provided to detail how ‘personally connected’ would be defined and children are now recognised as victims of domestic abuse:
It is important to note that domestic abuse is complex and there is overlap in the different types of abuse; it could consist of one or more forms of abuse. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone.
Support on offer in Gloucestershire
- Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service (GDASS) | www.gdass.org.uk
01452 726570 (Mon - Fri 9am-5pm)
- Gloucestershire Rape and Sexual Abuse Support (GRSAS) | www.glosrasac.org
01452 526 779
- Stroud Women's Refuge | 01453 764 385 | www.stroudwomensrefuge.org