SINGING sensation Jahmene Douglas is supporting Swindon’s domestic violence awareness campaign, after figures showed there were as many as six reports of abuse a day in the town in the last year.
The X-Factor contestant, has highlighted his own experience of domestic violence since appearing on the ITV talent show and has backed a call by Swindon Council and Community Safety Partnership to tackle the issue.
To coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Week, agencies in Swindon are asking people in the town to give their feedback on a new draft strategy aimed at tackling domestic violence.
Jahmene, 21, said: “A helpless mother, a lost childhood, lives destroyed. The likelihood is that you know someone suffering from domestic violence but they’re too scared to speak out.
“Give them somewhere to go and help raise awareness and funding before it’s too late.”
To highlight the start of the consultation and to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls on Friday, Swindon mayor Mick Bray and mayoress Ruth Bray tied a white ribbon around a tree at the Civic Offices.
The event was attended by a number of agencies in the town including Swindon Community Safety Partnership, Wiltshire Police, Swindon Women’s Aid, NSPCC, Men’s Sexual Health and Swindon’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre.
Figures released by Swindon Community Safety Partnership have revealed that there were 2,268 reported incidents of domestic violence and abuse in Swindon between April 2011 and March this year.
One in four women and one in six men will experience domestic violence and abuse at some point in their lives. It is estimated that only one in five incidents will be reported to the police.
Some 30 per cent of violent crimes recorded in Swindon are attributable to domestic violence, above the national average of 25 per cent.
The Domestic Abuse Reduction Strategy consultation has been developed to protect and raise awareness of domestic abuse within communities in Swindon.
The Swindon and Wiltshire Community Safety Partnerships have produced a draft strategy to outline how organisations across the county will work together.
Coun Vera Tomlinson, Swindon Council’s cabinet member for a safer, stronger borough, said: “Victims think it is their fault and that they are the only person experiencing the abuse, but we want to dispel that myth and give people the courage to speak out against the perpetrators of this under-reported crime.”
The draft Domestic Abuse Reduction Strategy questionnaire can be viewed at wiltshire.gov.uk/da-strategy-consultation-htm. Paper copies of the draft strategy can be obtained from Swindon Community Safety Partnership on 01793 466512 or Wiltshire Council on 01225 716610.