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Live a life free from fear and abuse this Christmas

People living in an abusive relationship in Cornwall are being encouraged to seek help, with an increase in incidents of domestic abuse and sexual violence expected over the Christmas period.

Safer Cornwall, a partnership of public, voluntary, community and private organisations who come together to do all that they can to make Cornwall’s communities safer, report that there is a much higher level of incidents around Christmas with people saying they feel less likely to seek help and report the issues they are experiencing at this point in the year.

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Simon Mould, Cornwall Council’s Head of Community Safety and Localism said: “A lot of times, people living in an abusive relationship feel responsible for maintaining the safety and stability of their home and family; spending so much time and energy managing their abuser and trying desperately to minimise the impact the abuser has on the wider family.

“The thought of fleeing an abusive relationship or feeling responsible for having someone arrested at Christmas, is often too much for someone to cope with, in addition to the increase in abusive behaviour and violence that a person anticipates due to the usual stresses that families face during the holidays and also, often, from the increase of alcohol consumption.”

This advice follows success of the recent campaign, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which the Safer Cornwall partnership, supported by the Office of The Police Crime Commissioner, have been promoting to raise awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence and highlight the support available across Cornwall for anyone who is affected by it.

Safer Cornwall, with the support of Safer Futures, have visited Cornwall’s 10 Safer Towns (Truro, Redruth, Camborne, Penzance, Bodmin, Falmouth, Newquay, St. Austell, Saltash and Liskeard), visiting local businesses and asking them to pledge their support to the campaign by downloading and implementing a Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Employment Policy and undertaking training, as well as providing a safe place in their community for anyone experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence.

As part of this campaign there are now 188 local businesses pledging their commitment to being a safe place for anyone experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence to access information and support, making sure that people at work get the support they need through these difficult times as well as supporting a working environment where domestic abuse and sexual violence becomes something that more people talk openly about.

Simon Mould added: “Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence services work hard to make the process of getting out of an abusive situation as straight forward as possible, but the reality is that it is one of the scariest things a person will have to do at any time of year; so we want people to know that they deserve to feel, and be, safe and free from anxiety and fear, every day.”

If you live in Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly and you think you, or someone you know needs to access support around domestic abuse or sexual violence you can get help and advice in a number of ways:

Make an online referral to First Light  

Or call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline (run by Women’s Aid and Refuge) on 0808 2000 247.

If you fear for your immediate safety, or someone else’s, please call 999.

Story posted on 13 December