Home should be the safest place any of us could be. This, sadly, is not the case for those experiencing domestic abuse.
In Cumbria, we know that domestic abuse is an under-reported crime, with many people suffering in silence as they fear the consequences or in some cases, are manipulated into accepting this behaviour.
Domestic abuse is never tolerated.
We work with our partner agencies to offer support to victims, ensuring that they know that they do not need to suffer in silence and that help is always available.
If you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger, call 999 immediately. Our priority is to ensure the safety of you and your family. Police officers will attend the incident and can force entry into your home if needed. We will take the action that is required to protect and ensure your safety.
Also known as Clare’s Law, the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme aims to help those (both men and women) who are worried that they, or someone they know, may be at risk of domestic abuse. It allows you to make an application to police for information about a person’s violent behaviour in previous relationships.
You can go into a police station to make a request, or call 101.
Domestic Violence Protection Orders
Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPNs) and Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) provide you with immediate protection following an incident of domestic violence and give you time to consider what to do next. Local specialist services that provide advice and support will get in touch with you if a DVPN is issued.
Both DVPNs and DVPOs place certain conditions on the perpetrator which may:
Stop them from entering and being within a certain distance of your home
Stop them from making you leave or excluding you from your home
Mean they have to leave your home (even if you live at the same address)
A DVPN comes into effect as soon as it is issued by the police. Within 48 hours of this (excluding Sundays and Bank Holidays), the Magistrates’ Court will hear an application for a DVPO.
The police can serve a DVPN or DVPO even if you don't desire it, and you don't have to go to court or give evidence if you don't want to.
Domestic abuse victims in Cumbria can discretely seek help from pharmacy staff by “asking for Ani”. The phrase is code for 'Assistance Needed Immediately', and when it's used, a member of staff will take the victim to a private, safe, room where they can help them call the police, a domestic abuse helpline, family member or even a solicitor.
A helpline for male domestic abuse survivors, run by Respect: 0808 801 0327
Cumbria Police have spoken with Jenny, who found the courage to report the abuse she was suffering and the support she received after her speaking out. Her story is an example of the level of service available and how the support can help a victim move on with their lives:
Jenny suffered years of abuse from Karl, which started when she was pregnant with their first child. Step by step, Karl isolated her from her friends and her family; he would subject her to regular mental, physical and sexual abuse.
Whilst Karl was a heavy drinker, his actions continued when he was sober. Sadly, Jenny suffered such a horrific level of abuse that she felt that she was in the wrong and that there was simply nowhere to go.
The incident that made Jenny call the police was when Karl hit her while she was holding their youngest child, a baby of six months. He was strangling her and she thought she was going to lose consciousness and drop the baby.
From there Karl was arrested, and with the support of Barnardo’s and other domestic violence advocacy groups, Jenny was able to step-by-step gain back control of her life.
The support of the police and Barnardo’s helped. Being able to attend the Recovery Toolkit in this area was also amazing and that was really the turning point in my life - I thought I’d be sitting in a room full of miserable, broken people - but what I found was that the shared experience meant that the shame and guilt was lifted. The women laughed together and it was the best therapy I could have had. It meant I could start seeing a future for myself and the children, where there had not been one before. My support worker from Barnardo’s was particularly important. She was warm and supportive with everything, including helping me understand what the children had been through and the impact on them.
Jenny's name is made up, to protect the victim's anonymity.