Police remind public that domestic abuse happens even on Valentine's Day (5 Feb 2018)

Valentines _chocsWest Yorkshire Police is reminding the public it won't be all hearts and flowers for everyone this Valentine's Day as they encourage people to look out for the signs that a family member, friend or neighbour may be the victim of domestic abuse.

Even on Valentine's Day, the police receive reports of domestic abuse, with 152 domestic incidents reported to the police on 14 February last year.

The Force is particularly appealing to family, friends and neighbours who suspect someone close to them may be the victim of physical abuse or subject to coercive or controlling behaviour by their partner or another family member to report their concerns before it's too late.

Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson said: "While many people may see Valentine's Day as a time to show their affection, unfortunately for some people living in West Yorkshire it represents just another day of physical or psychological abuse at the hands of a loved one.

"No-one should have to live in fear, particularly in their own home. We know from experience though that it can be extremely hard for victims themselves to come forward or that equally they may not even see themselves as a victim or don't realise that the behaviour they are being subjected to is actually abuse. That is why we need the people close to them to contact the police if they have any concerns."

"People may think they know the signs to look out for of domestic abuse, but it's not all cuts and bruises. Abuse comes in many forms, but it is never acceptable.

"Something that may seem like harmless behaviour in isolation, can have devastating effects on a victim when they are subjected to repeated controlling behaviour.

"It may be that you notice that the partner or another family member of someone you know repeatedly puts them down, humiliates or degrades them, or seems to have control over their everyday behaviour, including limiting their access to money or controlling what they wear.

"Other signs can include the victim becoming submissive and withdrawn or suddenly breaking off contact with yourself or others. A perpetrator of domestic abuse can isolate their victim from sources of support, such as friends and family, and monitor their communication with others.

"We need people to come forward and report any concerns they may have for family members, friends and neighbours. Any reports will be treated sensitively and taken seriously."

Perpetrators and victims of domestic abuse can be of any age or background. Offences can be committed by anyone living together, or who has previously lived together, and could be parents and children and siblings as well as those in 'intimate' relationships. Domestic abuse affects both men and women, as well as those in same-sex relationships.

If you are a victim, or know someone who could be a victim you can speak to police, or other agencies that can help. You can contact police via 101, in an emergency always call 999.

West Yorkshire Police has specially-trained safeguarding officers who can provide support and practical assistance to those who suffer domestic abuse. The Force also works in partnership with a wide range of statutory and voluntary groups who can provide further help and support.

It is not just victims though who can access support to break a cycle of abusive behaviour, there is also help available for perpetrators of domestic abuse or individuals who are concerned about emerging changes in their behaviour towards a partner or family member.

Valentines _glassWest Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said: "Whether you buy in to Valentine's Day or not I think we can all agree that no one should be subjected to any form of abuse and especially not from those closest to them.

"It's important to raise awareness of the fact that abuse isn't always obvious to the victim or those around them, that's why we've developed this campaign to encourage people to report concerns and get help.

"Our message is simple, if you are being abused or you suspect someone is being abused, report it immediately. We have a range of services and partners ready to support any victims and tackle offending robustly."

More information about support available is on the West Yorkshire Police website at: www.westyorkshire.police.uk/domestic-abuse-contacts

Further information about what constitutes domestic abuse and the signs to look out for is available on the West Yorkshire Police website at: www.westyorkshire.police.uk/domesticabuse.

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019