‘You are not alone’ is the message being sent to victims of domestic abuse as part of a new campaign launched today in Leicester.
The campaign has been created to reach out to British Asian Indian women in Leicester and to challenge the perceptions of abuse in different communities across the city.
It’s the result of work being done by Leicester City Council in partnership with local charity United Against Violence and Abuse (UAVA), and Zinthiya Trust.
Research carried out by the partnership revealed that although 28% of the city's population is British Asian Indian (2011 census), only around 21% of people who give their ethnicity when contacting UAVA are British Asian Indian.
The campaign aims to tackle this under-reporting by reaching out to women who may not be able to speak or read English and who may be isolated and not recognise themselves as victims of abuse.
It’s based on the experiences of women of all ages who have been helped by UAVA, and who set out different kinds of abuse that some people may not define as such: this includes having your passport withheld from you; confining your use of the internet; limiting or controlling your food; and having someone control your finances.
Asst city mayor Cllr Sarah Russell said: “It’s vital that anyone experiencing domestic abuse, men and women, know that help is available to them and how to get it. UAVA can be contacted on 0808 80 200 28, and I urge people to get in touch with them and make that vital first step to taking control.
“This campaign is specifically aimed a group of women where we know abuse is under-reported and we want to do everything we can to make them aware that what they are experiencing is not acceptable and they are not alone.”
Founder of Zinthiya Trust, Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan, said: “Some women don’t know they’re victims of abuse because their husbands’ and in-laws’ behaviours are common in many families. The figures on how many British Asian Indian women are victims of abuse are unreliable because I know first-hand that so many of them don’t – or can’t – come forward. While we recognise that more women from this community need to come forward, abuse can happen to anyone no matter their ethnicity, age, or gender.”
Suki Kaur, Chief Executive of Freeva, which operates the domestic and sexual violence helpline for UAVA, said: “We talk to men and women every day and we know how hard it can be. What I can say is that you can live free from abuse and recover and heal; creating the life you may not think right now is possible.”
The campaign uses snippets of conversation from real cases of women who have experienced domestic abuse, which are being aired on local community and Asian radio stations in English, Gujarati, Hindi and Punjabi. The radio campaign is being supported by a range of posters in council and community buildings and social media messages on Twitter @_HowmanyTimes
Detective Chief Inspector Lucy Batchelor, lead for Domestic Abuse, Leicestershire Police said: “I really welcome this new campaign because we know that domestic abuse is underreported. We want all victims to have the confidence to report abuse and know they can safely get the help and advice they need. Please don’t suffer in silence there are lots of people from different organisations who can help.”
The next stage of the campaign will see resources developed for use at GP surgeries, English language classes, schools, and by mobile hair and beauty professionals and religious community support providers to help them spot signs of abuse and know what to do if someone reaches out to them.
UAVA can be contacted on 0808 80 200 28. In an emergency, when someone is being harmed, contact the police on 999.
More information is available on the city council’s website.