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Addressing Isle of Wight Domestic Abuse
As the new provider for Isle of Wight Domestic Abuse and Sexual Crime services, You First faces real challenges. For example, the number of sexual offences recorded on the Island was four times higher in 2018 than 2003. Over the same period, stalking and harassment offences grew by more than 14 times. Together, police recorded 1,366 such offences for the year ending September 2018. Often, these occur within a relationship. Clearly, there is a great need to face these issues head on.
Isle of Wight Domestic Abuse – It’s Not OK
Sadly, the number of people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence is much larger, due to chronic under-reporting. Many groups and campaigns have pressed these issues to the public. As a result, the subject has become less taboo. Notably, the Isle of Wight Community Safety Partnership is supporting events for one such campaign this week.
Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week seeks to give victims a voice and to highlight that It’s Not OK. It’s Not OK for people to commit these crimes; It’s Not OK that people affected by sexual abuse in a relationship feel unable to access help; and, It’s Not OK for any of us to stand by and allow this to continue.
Individuals, organisations, and voluntary agencies are using the hashtag #ItsNotOK on social media. Through this, they are sharing their stories, information, and details of related events. If you would find it helpful, please explore these posts.
Developing Our Isle of Wight Domestic Abuse Services
While we are professionals, we passionately believe that stopping sexual violence is everyone’s business. A new definition of domestic abuse in the Government’s draft domestic abuse bill and community-based approaches offer hope. The YOU Trust has secured grant funding to bring two proven programmes to the Island.
Firstly, the funding will help us to reach people affected by sexual violence in isolated communities. The Dragonfly Project, which we have run in Dorset, works to weave a network of support within the fabric of a community. To this end, people and businesses receive training to become befrienders, or champions. In that role, they listen and offer support, providing victims with the information they need to move forward.
The second of these new additions is the growth of Hampshire’s Making Safe Scheme. Under the scheme, where risk-appropriate, security measures are added to one’s home. As a result, those who might otherwise have to flee due to risk of domestic violence can instead remain in their home. This offers cost-savings for agencies and local authorities. But, most importantly, it lessens the disruption of the lives of the people and children affected by domestic abuse, whilst keeping them safe.
Where to Turn
If you think you might be or suspect someone else might be experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence, we can help. Whether you just have questions, or you need support, our team will be glad to assist.
Call 0800 234 6266, or e-mail youfirstIOW@theyoutrust.org.uk.
Finally, if it is an emergency, dial 999 immediately.