Clare Jenkins, Portsmouth Superintendent for Hampshire Constabulary, said: “This campaign is particularly pertinent at this time of the year when we know that the number of domestic abuse cases reported increase. It’s important to be working together to ensure that anyone suffering from domestic abuse knows where to get help.”
A few year ago, Kirsty Mellor, from Portsmouth, found the courage to leave an abusive relationship.
“It didn’t begin with physical violence,” she said. “It was subtle and gradual – to the point everything I did throughout my daily routine I had him in mind; from tins stacked front-facing and toothpaste squeezed correctly to gravy made with water first. He dictated the way I did everything and anything.
“When he was cross he would hurl abuse at me. He was always sorry after, but that didn’t break the cycle and the violence soon escalated to physical abuse.”
Tackling domestic abuse has been a priority for the Safer Portsmouth Partnership for more than a decade, and there is always an increased demand for support around this time of the year; more so with the impact of the pandemic.
Cllr Lee Hunt, Cabinet Member for Community Safety at Portsmouth City Council, said: “Together with many partners city-wide, from all backgrounds and ages, our work to reduce and prevent domestic abuse will never stop.
“40% of all assaults in Portsmouth take place in a family setting, and witnessing violence is a risk factor for perpetrating violence and/or experiencing further abuse – so it’s paramount that we do everything we can, particularly during such difficult times and at this time of the year, to raise awareness of abusive behaviours and ensure people know where they can go to get help.”