Suffolk backs the White Ribbon campaign to end domestic abuse ‘epidemic’

Ipswich Town Football Club and Suffolk Constabulary support the White Ribbon campaign. Picture: KARE

Ipswich Town Football Club and Suffolk Constabulary support the White Ribbon campaign. Picture: KAREN WILLIE - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich bar manager who was assaulted by her former partner when she was 25 weeks pregnant is today backing an international campaign to end male violence against women.

Tanya Boyd. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Tanya Boyd. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Tanya Boyd, who has become an activist for domestic abuse awareness since the attack in September last year, is showing her support for the White Ribbon initiative.

The 35-year-old, who is mother to Harrison, nine, and nine-month-old Henley, said: “I could have stood back and let my life carry on the way it was but I think people should speak out.

“The violence needs to stop, whether it’s a man against a woman or a woman against a man, it isn’t right either way.”

In January this year, Matthew Kersey, then 34 and of Campbell Road, Ipswich, was jailed for 20 weeks after admitting to assaulting Miss Boyd by beating, as well as criminal damage.

Explaining the devastation domestic abuse can cause, Miss Boyd, who manages Sin Bar in Ipswich, said: “What happened to me was over a year ago and I still can’t get my head around it.

“It doesn’t just mentally destroy people, it destroys their soul and their soul gets taken away and I’m still fighting to find mine. It’s like I’m lost and my soul is lost.

Police officers from Suffolk Constabulary don their white ribbons. Picture: KAREN WILLIE

Police officers from Suffolk Constabulary don their white ribbons. Picture: KAREN WILLIE - Credit: Archant

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“I thought it was normal to be in a relationship like that and probably so do hundreds of other women and men, thinking grabbing someone and pushing someone in a relationship is normal, well it’s not and if people don’t speak out then other people can’t learn from them.”

Suffolk Constabulary has issued 1,000 white ribbons to its staff as a visual sign of support for White Ribbon, which starts today and runs until December 10.

Detective Superintendent Eamonn Bridger said: “White Ribbon is opportunity to work with other organisations, to raise awareness of domestic abuse and violence, sending a strong message that it will not be tolerated or condoned in any way.”

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore has invested more than £2 million in domestic abuse support services in the county since he was elected.

He said: “Domestic abuse is an appalling crime; it ruins the lives of victims and has a devastating impact on their families, particularly as children suffer the consequences as well. No-one should have to live with the fear of violence or controlling behaviour, especially not at home.”

Mr Passmore added: “It is crucially important that victims have the confidence and support they need to report domestic violence and I hope the focus of the White Ribbon campaign will give those suffering abuse the confidence to speak out.”

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore backing the White Ribbons campaign. Picture: CO

Suffolks Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore backing the White Ribbons campaign. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Suffolk had the highest proportion of people experiencing domestic abuse in the country from 2013 to 2016, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Reports to Suffolk Constabulary about domestic abuse have increased by a quarter since 2013. It had 9,600 reports last year – more than one every hour.

The aim of the White Ribbon campaign is to empower men to play a part in the fight to end violence against women and girls.

Sally Winston, chief executive of charity Lighthouse Women’s Aid said: “It’s so important that men stand up against this epidemic, not only to denounce such behaviour as abhorrent but also to show that actually, despite the statistics, there are good men out there who understand the meaning of respect and want to show it.”

Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Town Football Club, Suffolk Sport and Suffolk Football Association are also backing the White Ribbon campaign.

Richard Neal, chief executive officer for Suffolk FA, said: “Whilst the number of reported incidents across Suffolk is shocking, it does demonstrate the increasing confidence victims have in reporting incidents and coming forward to get the help they need. Suffolk FA is committed to working with partners to address this, and hope all involved in local football across the county will show their support to prevent domestic abuse.”

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