Sanctuary Supported Living services are taking part in the 16 Days of Action Against Domestic Violence campaign, to raise awareness of domestic violence and abuse.
The 16 Days of Action campaign, which is supported by Public Health England (PHE), aims to encourage discussions around the issues of domestic violence and abuse. It also highlights the need for companies to do more to support employees who are experiencing domestic abuse of all kinds, as well as training staff to recognise the signs and know how to support their colleagues and others who may be at risk of domestic abuse.
Sanctuary Supported Living has two dedicated domestic abuse services – Plymouth Domestic Abuse Services (PDAS) and Torbay Domestic Abuse Service (TDAS) –which provide practical, non-judgemental support, advice and protection for all victims of domestic abuse, as well as a refuge and safe house accommodation for individuals and families who have fled domestic abuse.
The 16 Days of Action were chosen to include key dates in the calendar, which all have links to domestic abuse and violence. The campaign begins on Wednesday 25 November with White Ribbon Day, which aims to end male violence against women, by engaging with men and boys to make a stand against violence.
Other significant dates include International Human Rights Defenders Day on 29 November, World Aids Day on 1 December, and the anniversary of the Montreal École Polytechnique Massacre on 6 December, highlighting the connection between human rights and domestic violence.
The 16 Days of Action is an annual campaign, but one which has even more significance this year, given the increase in domestic abuse incidents since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and particularly since the introduction of tiers, travel restrictions and lockdown.
Over a 21-day period in April, Refuge, the UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, reported a 49 per cent increase in calls to its helpline, as well as a 700 per cent increase in a single day.
Katy Fisher, Local Service Manager for PDAS, said: “Many people believe that domestic abuse always includes violence, but domestic abuse can take many forms, including psychological abuse or coercive control. It can also be physical, sexual, financial or emotional. It could be between partners or former partners, regardless of gender or sexuality, or between family members.
“We’ve also heard from lots of victims who have been told by their abuser that they can’t leave because of Covid travel restrictions and lockdown, but the Government has said that fleeing domestic abuse is considered essential travel. If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic abuse, help is available. We are still here for you.”
Many people believe that domestic abuse always includes violence, but domestic abuse can take many forms, including psychological abuse or coercive control.
Katy Fisher, Local Service Manager
Kevin Salter, Safeguarding Manager, added: “At Sanctuary Supported Living, we’re proud to be supporting the 16 Days of Action campaign. Our staff at PDAS and TDAS do great work in supporting victims of domestic abuse in the Plymouth and Torbay areas, but with 25% of women and 16% of men* being affected by domestic violence, it is an issue which is likely to affect residents and staff from across all our services.
“This is why we wanted to show our support, starting with encouraging male staff members to take part in White Ribbon Day. We’re also offering training to enable all our teams to be able to spot the signs of potential domestic abuse in both residents and their colleagues, and know how to access support.”
For more information about Sanctuary Supported Living’s domestic abuse services, or for links to national domestic abuse organisations, see our domestic abuse page. If you, or someone you know, has been affected by domestic abuse, you can also call 101 in a non-emergency, or call the Women’s Aid 24-hour helpline: 0808 200 0247. In an emergency, call: 999.