Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting BOREHAMWOOD to 80360, or email us
Raising awareness of domestic abuse in Hertfordshire
A police force is using the approach of Valentine’s Day to raise awareness of the number of people who suffer abuse from the ones they love.
Hertfordshire Constabulary yesterday relaunched its True Love? Campaign, which helps young people identify the signs of domestic abuse and define what makes a healthy relationship.
The campaign was first launched in 2012, and since then police have seen an increase in the number of reported domestic abuse incidents by five per cent among 16 and 17 year olds.
Detective Chief Inspector Clare Smith from the force's harm reduction unit welcomed the increase as it showed more people were becoming aware of the signs of abuse.
She said it often took a long time for a victim to realise they were being abused as the perpetrator would vary coercive and controlling behaviour with displays of affection to chip away at their confidence.
Abusive behaviour can include insults or name calling, sexual control, threats, preventing them from seeing friends or exercising financial control over a period of time.
Sarah Taylor, who manages the domestic abuse programme for the County Community Safety Unit, said: “Our advice to people, whatever their gender, sexuality, background or religion - who suspect they are in an abusive or controlling relationship is to contact police or Hertfordshire Sunflower – we will help you deal with this and live a life free from abuse.”
“Domestic abuse affects every corner of society regardless of gender, class, age, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or lifestyle."
Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire David Lloyd said he was heartened by the progress the force was making in combating abuse and violence.
He said: “In the coming months I will be looking at ways police and partner agencies can strengthen the work they do together to detect crimes and further protect victims. I will also be looking to provide further support for initiatives to help the victims of domestic abuse.”