Learning how to spot the signs of domestic abuse is just one of the things police will be teaching residents during a new week long awareness campaign.
Lancashire Police is joining forces with officers around the country to educate people about what domestic violence is, the tell-tale signs that it is happening and how to get the help they may require.
It all falls part of the In Focus – Domestic Abuse scheme, a national campaign led by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
Det Chief Insp Sue Cawley, from Lancashire Police’s Public Protection Unit, said: “We know that many people assume that domestic abuse is just about violence, but it covers any type of physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence and control.
“We want people to know that this often hidden crime can affect anyone, regardless of social background, age, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnic background.”
In the past year, there has been a slight fall in reports of domestic abuse-related incidents in Lancashire with 4,912 reports between April 2013 to January 2014, compared to 5,001 incidents reported to police between April 2013 to January 2013.
In Western division, which covers Blackpool, between April 2013 and January 2014 there were 1,145 incidents, compared to 1,241 the same time the previous year.
Det Chief Insp Cawley said: “We have seen rises in reporting of domestic abuse incidents over the past four or five years but we know that it still a widely under reported, hidden crime. Domestic violence victims suffer, on average, around 35 incidents before contacting the police.”
In Western and Northern divisions, the policing areas that cover the Fylde coast, there are dedicated domestic abuse teams that investigate these types of incidents and safeguard high risk victims.
A pilot scheme is also being run in Preston and Blackpool where work is done with offenders to help them identify their triggers and change their behaviour.
This campaign comes just a week after The Gazette spoke to a victim as Fylde’s biggest domestic violence refuge warned it is “stretched to the limit.”
In Blackpool, almost one in five police call outs are domestic violence related.
Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “I have seen first-hand the devastating impact domestic abuse can have on victims, and the struggle they often face to re-build their lives in the aftermath.
“I want all victims to feel they have a choice to break free of the abuse – whether that means contacting the police or accessing help and support from a local support service.
“That is why I have joined forces with domestic abuse services across Lancashire to launch the county-wide Take the Step, Make the Call campaign. It aims to empower victims of domestic abuse to take action – and hopefully by working together and speaking out we can take the step towards ending domestic abuse in Lancashire.”
Anyone wanting more information should call police on 101 or visit www.takethestep.co.uk.