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Police commissioner vows to tackle domestic abuse
HAMPSHIRE Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes has pledged to give top priority to the scourge of domestic violence.
He said he was “not afraid of the challenge” to ask the questions that no one has dared ask before, in his bid to tackle it and its devastating consequences.
Mr Hayes admits he has been shocked at the true extent of how deep-rooted the problem runs throughout Hampshire, and believes his position will allow him to make the difference where others have failed before.
He said he was determined to slash the increasing numbers of victims suffering, often in silence, at the hands of abusers and bullies. He added he hoped to work with specialists in their fields to share their expertise and develop innovative solutions.
His pledge comes as figures reveal 28,944 domestic violence and abuse incidents were reported to Hampshire Police last year — the equivalent of 79 a day.
It is also estimated that 130,000 children are living at high risk of domestic abuse across the country, and that seven per cent of women and five per cent of men have experienced domestic abuse in the last year.
Mr Hayes said: “This is a problem that has been around for generations and public bodies have tried to tackle it in the past, but now I am in this unique position where I can bring people together in a way that has not been possible before.
“There is a lot of great work that is already being done, but this gives us an opportunity to tackle it as one, rather than a piece-meal approach, and I hope that this is what will make the difference and bring about social change.”
Shortfalls in support for children, men and those within same sex relationships will also be targeted, while prevention is also a key focus, to get schools to recognise their role in educating children about relationships.
Mr Hayes will also dare to raise difficult questions surrounding refuges and whether the current piece-meal approach could be improved by a joined-up service with fewer, but larger centres that meet the needs of modern society.
He added: “I am not afraid of a challenge or to raise difficult questions. Unless you address a challenge, you don’t get anywhere and things stay the same.
“The consequences of domestic violence and abuse spirals down the generations and it will only increase unless there is an intervention to prevent it.”
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