Nurses offer help to women victims of domestic abuse

A campaign has been launched to help women victims of violence in North Devon

WOMEN in North Devon are being told to seek help if they are victims of domestic violence rather than suffer in silence.

Midwives and community nurses in the region are backing a campaign which aims to reduce incidents of violence against women.

Research suggests that up to 30 per cent of all violence in the home begins in pregnancy and that women are particularly vulnerable when their babies are very small.

But the true scale of abuse is largely hidden behind closed doors. It usually affects women and children, but men can also be victims.

Sue Whitworth, senior midwife at North Devon District Hospital, said: “We know that pregnancy can be a trigger for domestic violence. It is well recognised nationally and we have seen it here.

“What we are saying to women is that your midwife and your community nurse are there to help.

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“And if you don’t feel you can come to us, there are other people at the end of the phone. Please don’t suffer in silence.”

The dangers to women are highlighted in a national campaign that began on International Violence Against Women Day on November 25. It runs until International Human Rights Day on december 10.

The focus is on domestic violence; rape and sexual violence; sexual harassment; female genital mutilation; forced marriage; crimes in the name of honour; human trafficking; sexual exploitation; and child sexual abuse.

Numbers to ring for help in North Devon include: North Devon Women’s Aid, (01271) 321946; North Devon Women’s Aid Outreach, (01271) 370079; Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline in partnership with Women’s Aid and Refuge|, 0808 2000 247; Voice UK (victims with learning disabilities), 0808 802 8686; Victim Support, 0845 30 30 900; Men’s Advice Line (domestic violence), 0808 801 0327.

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