Wigan domestic violence survivor calls on other victims to speak out
A Wigan domestic abuse survivor has warned that "abuse thrives in silence" as she shared her story in the hope of encouraging others to report similar incidents.
Amy (not her real name) said she left her partner earlier this year after experiencing all forms of coercive and controlling behaviour.
She said: "I kept thinking the guy who I fell in love with was going to come back, I just had to work harder. I was wrong.
"We'd play fight and I'd have massive big bruises or he'd just give me a dead leg for no reason.
"I stayed because you've got a kid in the middle of it and you think you're doing the right thing."
Greater Manchester Police is urging people across the county to report incidents of domestic abuse, which is a largely hidden crime, often taking place behind closed doors.
Officers are working hard with community partners to target early intervention and encourage victims or those with concerns to seek help, and make a report.
Amy wants those suffering at the hands of abusers to speak out - whether through a charity, support service, or the police.
She added: "Definitely speak out sooner because abuse thrives in silence and your abuser is banking on you not saying anything.
"They can go on and live their lives whilst you're left with all the damage to pick up.
"Speaking to the police, it is scary. You don't expect yourself to be in that position. No one deserves to be sat in front of a stranger that you've never met before telling them the worst parts of your life.
"But there's the police app where you can, if you don't want to phone up, you can do it literally on your phone in the comfort of your own home and they'll get in touch with you."
Domestic abuse can be a lot more than what meets the eye, and can involve threatening behaviour, violence or physical abuse, as well as psychological, emotional, or financial abuse, which can sometimes be harder to recognise and can often go underreported.
While reports of domestic abuse are at the expected levels across Greater Manchester, in recent years Wigan has shown to have the highest number of reports of domestic abuse incidents across the region.
Det Insp Nathan Percival, Vulnerability Lead for GMP’s Wigan District, said: “It is a relief to know that victims are reporting incidents of domestic abuse in Wigan, so that we can identify perpetrators, and work with our partners to provide help and support.
“However, we are aware that incidents of domestic abuse are still very concealed and are happening in all areas of our community, and I would like to reassure you that support is available, whether this is through the police or other support services across Greater Manchester.
"GMP is committed to help reduce domestic abuse in our communities, and protecting some of the most vulnerable members of society, but in order to do that, we need to know when these incidents are occurring.
“If you're a victim of domestic abuse, or are concerned about someone you know, you can make a report to the police, via the LiveChat or online reporting at www.gmp.police.uk, by dialling 101 or always calling 999 in an emergency.
“If you would like help making a report, or are not ready to speak to the police, please be reassured help and support is available, no matter when incidents may have occurred.”
Greater Manchester Police works in partnership with Wigan Council to provide support to victims of domestic abuse.
Sarah Owen, Service Manager for Domestic and Sexual Violence at Wigan Council, said: “We all need to be more aware of domestic abuse. Communities need to come together to ensure no victim goes unnoticed and to stand against all forms of abuse and violence.
“We have heavily invested in the Wigan Borough Domestic Abuse Service (DIAS) which offers a 12-hour a day domestic abuse helpline for anyone with concerns or in need of help and advice.”
Amy said she wouldn't be here today if she had not had the help of Wigan Council's domestic abuse service, adding: "If it wasn't for just one charity then the chances of me either being like not being able to get through this and just giving up and ending my life.
"That would've been definitely a possibility. Or the fact I'd have gone back to my ex where he would've finished the job."
A Wigan Council campaign highlighting the warning signs of domestic abuse has also been developed alongside victims.
Love Is Not Abuse, which will also guide residents to vital support services, focuses on the emotional and mental aspects of domestic abuse as well as the physical.
Informed by brave male and female victims, the campaign’s posters, animations, and videos use real-life examples to show how different forms of abuse can be identified.
Where to go for help:
Contact Greater Manchester Police using our LiveChat or online reporting facility on our website: www.gmp.police.uk, or dial 101. In an emergency that's ongoing or life is in danger, always dial 999.
Greater Manchester Victims’ Services can provide independent emotional and practical support for anyone affected by crime, whether you are ready to make a report to the police or not. You can contact the service by visiting the website on www.gmvictims.org.uk or calling 0161 200 1950.
If you are based in Wigan, the Wigan Borough Domestic Abuse Service, in partnership with Well Women and Wigan Council, offers independent support to victims of domestic abuse. To find out more go to www.diasdvc.org or call the helpline on 01942 311365.
Reports can also be made anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Every month, GMP also hosts an anonymous domestic abuse Q&A alongside its partners. If you have any questions or concerns, we'd encourage you to join where you will be able to access direct support from specialist teams both within GMP and external support services. All questions can be submitted anonymously and the next Q&A session will be on Thursday 16 December. Further information on this will be posted in due course via the Greater Manchester Police Facebook page.
Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here and viewing our offers.