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Cornwall starts 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

“I don’t think that’s abuse, abuse is a slap or a punch.”

Those were the words of a young woman from Cornwall after she had been headbutted by her partner and was struggling to recognise him as abusive. She was 20 weeks pregnant at the time. She is among thousands of people across Cornwall who live in fear of someone they love.

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In the last 12 months a staggering 4,695 people accessed domestic abuse services in Cornwall - aged between 16 and 94.

Today Safer Cornwall and Together for Families, part of Cornwall Council, are joining forces at the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, to highlight the issue in Cornwall, to try and remove the stigma and to encourage people to speak out and access the help they need.

This partnership includes the police, the NHS, the Voluntary Sector, Probation and Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service.

Anna MacGregor from Safer Cornwall said: “Domestic abuse can take many forms and often those who are being hurt don’t see themselves as experiencing abuse.

“In Cornwall young women, aged between 18 and 25, are most at risk of direct victimisation of domestic abuse and sexual violence. It can have devastating, long lasting and sometimes tragic consequences.

“This campaign is specifically about protecting girls and young women.

“Even in lockdown, if you are at risk you can still leave your home to access safety and support.

“If you need help or you are worried about someone who may be at risk of domestic abuse or sexual violence contact the Safer Future’s Team.”

Throughout the ‘16 Days’ campaign we will be sharing information about domestic abuse and sexual violence and advice on where to find support.

Rob Nolan, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Public Protection, said: “Home should be a safe place? No adult, young person or child should have to live in fear of being hurt in their own home.

“We are proud of this campaign and we ask that you join us in taking a stand against domestic abuse and sexual violence.”

Cornwall’s integrated domestic abuse and sexual violence service, Safer Futures, is still providing support, safety planning and information for adults, young people and children, via their helpline, text service, face to face and online.

Safer Futures will also direct you to any additional services that you may need and can liaise on your behalf if appropriate to do so, for example if you feel you want to access a refuge at this time.

Visit their website or by calling 0300 777 4777

If you feel unsafe and feel that you are in immediate danger, then you should still contact the emergency services via 999. Devon and Cornwall police work very closely with our local domestic abuse and sexual violence services and will ensure you get the follow-on support that you need.