help for victims of domestic violence

MORE than 850 domestic violence related incidents in Stevenage and North Herts were reported to the police last year. According to Herts Police, in 2007/08 there were 478 incidents of domestic violence in Stevenage and 373 incidents in North Herts. This i

MORE than 850 domestic violence related incidents in Stevenage and North Herts were reported to the police last year.

According to Herts Police, in 2007/08 there were 478 incidents of domestic violence in Stevenage and 373 incidents in North Herts.

This is a rise of 18 in Stevenage, from 460 in 2006/07, and a fall of 35 in North Herts, from 408 in 2006/07.

Vivienne Hosier, a survivor of domestic violence, said: "One of the most important things to remember for anyone who is taking the brave leap of seeking help is whoever you speak to will genuinely care about your situation and will not judge you.


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"The process is very informal and there is nothing to be frightened of."

She added: "It is possible to lead a normal happy life and asking for help is the first step on the path to a safe future without fear for yourself and your family."

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As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Fortnight (November 17 to 28) an exhibition of 104 pairs of shoes - representing the number of women killed in the UK every year through domestic violence and abuse - has been displayed at various locations in Stevenage, and is in Letchworth GC today (Thursday).

The exhibition, together with an information stand, will be in Leys Avenue from 11am until 2pm.

North Herts District Council's anti-social behaviour officer, Beth Knight, will be manning the stand along with domestic violence experts and representatives from organisations including Herts Police, Herts County Council and Homestart.

As well as advice, people will be able to pick up wristbands, leaflets, cards and white ribbon badges, all designed to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Detective superintendent Jon Chapman, Herts Police's champion for protecting vulnerable people, said: "Domestic violence accounts for 20 per cent of all violent crime in Hertfordshire and, together with our partners, the constabulary is working hard to reduce this figure and give better support to victims and their families."

Hertfordshire's domestic violence helpline number is 08 088 088 088. It's a free and confidential information service run by trained volunteers from 10am to 8pm, Monday to Friday.

Information and support is also available from The National Centre for Domestic Violence on 08709 220704 and The Sunflower Centre at www.sunflowerherts.org

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