Domestic violence exhibition launched in Comet country

EVERY minute in the UK police receive a phone call from someone suffering domestic violence, with suggestions that less than a quarter of these types of crimes are reported.

It’s for this reason that an exhibition has been launched in Comet country, to raise awareness of domestic abuse in North Herts and Stevenage.

The Not in My Shoes exhibition at Hitchin museum features footwear donated from celebrities and local public figures to show the devastation that domestic violence can cause to people and their children and families.

It is part of a wider national campaign, with this week marking Domestic Abuse Awareness Week and today (Thursday) marking White Ribbon Day.

Support booklets for victims were also launched to coincide with the exhibition, with five inspirational stories featured. Jo, 26, told of how her mum’s abusive partner terrorised her family.

“When the pubs closed my mum got very scared, because that’s when he would hang around outside the house and try to get in. He threatened to throw acid in my sister’s face because we tried to stop him getting in after he smashed a window,” she said.

“When he was being horrible to my mum, we knew it would be worse for her if we said anything. It got better because we didn’t give up. I told a teacher. I must have bottled it up for a long time.”

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It is hoped that stories such as this will assist domestic violence victims in making the first step to break the cycle of abuse.

But warnings were issued that such abuse can affect all walks of life,

“Domestic violence can affect men as well as women and often people suffer in silence,” said Fiona Benjamin who chairs the forum.

“We need to let people know that they are not alone, and that there are organisations that can offer support and advice.”

The initiative has been driven by local councils, police forces and Stevenage and North Herts Domestic Violence Forum, with several councillors and police staff attending the launch.

“Figures show that one woman in four and one in six men will be subjected to domestic abuse in their lifetime and this campaign hopes to help raise awareness of a serious crime that affects too many,” said NHDC’s leader Cllr Lynda Needham.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence helpline on 0808 2000 247.