Kent County Council is urging the county’s residents, community groups and businesses to join the worldwide call for the elimination of gender-based violence during 16 days of action from 25 November to 10 December 2021.
The global 16 Days of Action movement was launched by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) in 1991. At that time, two women a week were murdered by their current or ex-partner – a statistic that has not changed in the 30 years the initiative has been running.
The Kent Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (KIDAS) partnership is launching a new campaign across the county during the 16 Days to raise awareness of the issues and impact of this devastating crime and help every victim access support this winter and beyond.
‘16 Days, 16 Ways to become domestic abuse aware’ provides a range of free resources to help people learn about, understand, and feel empowered to speak out against domestic abuse. These include social media posts and images to share with followers and networks – there’s a post for every day from 25 November to 10 December, focusing on a different aspect of domestic abuse, as well as a printable poster that can be put up in venues,and an email signature and website header image, so that everyone can get behind the campaign.
1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be affected by domestic abuse in their lifetime, by a partner or family member. Domestic abuse does not discriminate – it is a far-reaching, pervasive issue that anyone can be a victim of – regardless of age, gender, ethnicity sexuality and socio-economic background, and has lifelong consequences.
Sasha experienced abuse at the hands of her long-term partner, whose coercion and control escalated when she became seriously ill.
“My husband had always been abusive, but it stepped up when I got ill with stage 3 breast cancer. He cancelled my health insurance whilst I was at the hospital. I was punished for daring to become ill. I knew I was being abused and had asked for help multiple times, he was really persuasive and either persuaded me to not take it further or he would charm the person whom the incident had been reported to and no action would be taken.
“My husband said to me in court that he couldn’t wait for me to die of cancer. He said this to me daily and repeated this to our two children. He would tell people I was lying about being ill and that I was doing it for attention and told them to not offer me any support. This was so people couldn’t see what he was doing. I was more trapped than before I was ill.
“When I found my local support agency, that’s when things changed and I was able to make moves to leave my husband of 20 years, get the medical help I needed and start to rebuild my life.”
The 16 Days focus is part of Kent County Council’s wider ‘Know, See, Speak Out’ awareness-raising initiative created by the partnership, in response to the escalation of risk of Domestic Abuse during the Covid-19 pandemic and the new Domestic Abuse Act, to encourage everyone to make domestic abuse their business and signpost those experiencing abuse to the support available to them.
The partnership includes District Councils, Medway Council, Kent Fire and Rescue, Kent Police, The Police and Crime Commissioner’s office, NHS, districts, and the National Probation Service and supports the Kent and Medway Domestic abuse Strategy.
Clair Bell, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care & Public Health said:
“Domestic Abuse continues to be a challenge within our communities, often going unnoticed and unreported.
“Now more than ever we need to confront and reduce this dreadful crime. Part of our continued efforts with our partners in Kent is to widen and heighten awareness of the signs of Domestic Abuse and the help available both in the community and businesses.
“As part of this important work, we urge everybody to join us during the 16 Days of Action to ‘Become Domestic Abuse Aware’, be vigilant in recognising the signs, take action to spread the word, and help to direct victims to safety.”
To access specialist Domestic Abuse support through KIDAS please call Victim Support 0808 168 9111 or visit https://www.domesticabuseservices.org.uk/, where you can also find information, resources and training webinars.
In an emergency, call the police on 999 (if you can’t speak, cough, or tap the handset then press 55 on your phone – the police will know it’s an emergency).
To access the ‘16 Days, 16 Ways to become domestic abuse aware campaign, visit the website at:
Email Bryony Bishop, Kent & Medway Domestic Abuse Social Media Campaign Coordinator at email@example.com
Notes to Editors:
16 Days of Action events and activities
- Silent March Against Gender-based Violence, organised by the Soroptimist International Canterbury
Saturday 27 November, 11am Buttermarket Canterbury, Free
- Mockingbird High live performance by Curtain Call in partnership with Clarion
Tuesday 30 November, 1.30pm, The Exchange Studio, Maidstone, Free
- Kent Libraries 16 Days reading list – view and reserve here
Domestic Abuse statistics
- Domestic abuse affects over 2 million people a year in England and Wales, which equates to 75,000 to 80,000 adults in Kent and Medway (Domestic abuse – Kent Public Health Observatory (kpho.org.uk) and makes up 15% of all crime across the region (The Kent and Medway Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Executive Strategic Assessment 2019, and 2017 data)
- This devastating social issue will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime, with 2 women a week being murdered by their current or ex-partner. UK Police receiving a call for assistance once every minute (Office for National Statistics)
- Kent Police saw a 13% increase in Domestic Abuse related crime reports from March to November 2020, compared to 2019 (Kent Police incident case reports March to November 2020) and our domestic abuse services have seen an increase in referrals
- In England and Wales £1.9 billion a year is lost in economic output due to domestic abuse (Walby, 2009)
- In the UK, in any one year, more than 20% of employed women take time off work because of domestic violence, and 2% lose their jobs as a direct result of the abuse (The Equality and Human Rights Commission)
- One in seven (14.2%) children and young people under the age of 18 will have lived with domestic violence at some point in their childhood (Radford et al, NSPCC report, 2011)
Kent County Council
The Council’s domestic abuse strategy sets out our joint vision, priorities and commitments to reduce the levels of domestic abuse, and ensure that where domestic abuse does take place, all those affected get the right support, quickly. The strategy supports agencies and partnerships to design and deliver the most appropriate responses to anyone affected by domestic abuse in Kent and Medway and focuses on preventing and responding through five key priorities. These priorities are:
- driving change together
- prevention and early intervention
- provision of services
- minimising harm
- justice, recovery and ongoing protection.
Kent Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (KIDAS)
Since 2017, Kent County Council has worked with Partners to commission the Kent Integrated Domestic Abuse Contract (KIDAS) which provides help for survivors across both community and accommodation-based support and continues to work with partners to build, develop and maximise the support available to those experiencing abuse.
The integrated approach of KIDAS means victims can access support wherever they are in Kent and has ensured a consistent response for victims and survivors during the pandemic. A central non-emergencies helpline and 24/7 live chat for Kent & Medway is coordinated by Victim Support, with localised helplines delivered by Oasis Domestic Abuse Service (East Kent, Medway, North Kent), Look Ahead (West Kent) and Clarion Housing Group (North and South Kent). A dedicated website has been set up working with Kent County Council and Kent Community Safety Team, with full information for safety planning and access to support at www.domesticabuseservices.org.uk