Heartbreaking impact of domestic abuse heard at event

Heartbreaking impact of domestic abuse heard at event

With more than 3,000 domestic abuse incidents reported in Wiltshire in 16/17, a host of professionals attended an event on the 6th December to promote a worldwide awareness campaign and hear about the work being done to highlight this important issue.

There were more than 60 people at the event in County Hall, held to coincide with the ‘16 days of action on domestic abuse’ campaign. The Wiltshire partnership event was supported by the chairs of the Community Safety Partnership, Safeguarding Children Board and Safeguarding Adults Board.

Those in attendance heard the heartbreaking story of 20 year old Hollie Gazzard, who was tragically murdered in 2014 by an ex-partner. Hollie’s father Nick shared her story and told of his determination to raise awareness of stalking, harassment and domestic abuse. As a result Nick and his family created the Hollie Gazzard Trust.

The trust helps reduce domestic abuse through creating and delivering programmes on domestic abuse and promoting healthy relationships, and the session held today was a chance to learn about and discuss effective practice.

This year, local professionals are supporting the 16 days of action against domestic abuse, which runs until 10 December.  During this time, partner agencies have promoted key messages to raise awareness and recognition of domestic abuse and how to access support.

Up to one in four women and one in six men are affected by one of the many forms of domestic abuse. Often referred as the ‘hidden crime’, victims are fearful to report what is happening to them, they rarely even tell family and friends.

During this year’s campaign, Wiltshire has focused on raising awareness of the wider forms of domestic abuse including the impact of stalking and harassment. This will often involve a pattern of repeat and persistent unwanted behaviour, typically characterised by fixation and obsession.

Tracy Daszkiewicz, chair of the Wiltshire Communiity Safety Partnership, said: “Domestic abuse, in any of its many forms, can destroy lives.

“I’d like to thank Nick Gazzard for bravely sharing Hollie’s story with us. His determination to turn the tragedy his family have suffered into a force for good is truly inspiring.

“For anyone who might be experiencing domestic abuse we want them to know that support is available and they are not alone. I’d urge them to take that first step and speak to someone and not suffer in silence. We know it’s easier said than done but we have a fantastic team in place ready to help.”

If you are seeking advice or support about domestic abuse, either for yourself or a friend or family member, call 01225 775276 or contact helpdesk@splitz.org In an emergency always call 999.

More information about the work of the Hollie Gazzard Trust can be found at www.holliegazzard.org

More information about 16 days of action, sponsored by Public Health England, can be found at www.16daysofaction.co.uk

The stats:

Prevalence of domestic abuse in Wiltshire in 2016-17 (April – March):

  • There were over 5,500 domestic abuse incidents reported to the police (Wiltshire and Swindon).
  • In the Wiltshire local authority area 3,300 incidents reported
  • Only one in five incidents actually end up in a report being made to the police, so the ‘real’ projected volume of domestic abuse for Wiltshire could be as high as 20,000 incidents per annum.
  •  29% of Violent against the Person Crimes recorded in Wiltshire are attributable to DA, which is higher than the national average of 25%.
  • Nationally, one in five women and one in 10 men will experience stalking (ONS, 2016)

People in picture:

 Left to right (men): Nick Gazzard, Ben Anderson – Wiltshire Council Portfolio holder for public health and public protection, Mark Gurrey – WSCB Chair, Detective Inspector Simon Childe

Left to right (women) Tracy Daszkiewicz – Wiltshire Council director of public health (Interim), Hayley Mortimer – Wiltshire Council public health specialist vulnerable communities, Laura Mayes – Wiltshire Council  cabinet member for children, education and skills

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