Bristol churches, mosques and synagogues are taking a stand against domestic violence during the week of Valentine’s Day. According to official statistics, one in four women and also some men will be victims of domestic violence and abuse, in their lifetimes, in Bristol. The week of activities aims to show that local faith groups are committed to supporting local women and men who are subjected to, and affected by, violence and abuse.
Domestic violence and abuse includes threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between partners or family members, that forms a pattern of behaviour aimed at controlling the victim. It also includes so-called 'honour based violence', female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage. Shabana Kausar, co-ordinator of the Bristol Domestic Abuse Forum, said:
“Many people ignore the problem, or see it as something which doesn't have anything to do with them. We are pleased that religous leaders from different faiths in Bristol will be carrying the message that we should all pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about domestic violence against women or men” said S
“The religious leaders have agreed to emphasise the importance of respect and equality in relationships and families and to oppose any idea of a religious justification for domestic violence” she said.
Coffee coasters containing information of the type of person with behaviour that can constitute domestic abuse are also being distributed to cafes and religious places in central Bristol. The coasters give the number of the 24 hour national domestic abuse line: 0808 2000 247.
“We want everyone to know that they do not need to tolerate abuse or violence and to give them information on where they can get help. When people take action to stop the abuse by challenging or leaving it can be particularly dangerous so it is important to seek help”, said Gary Hopkins, Cabinet Member for targeted improvement and a member of the Safer Bristol Board.
Anyone at immediate risk should call 999. People can report anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
To seek support, call the Bristol Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 6949 999 or the National Domestic Violence Helpline (24-hours) on 0808 2000 247. For more advice and information on how to get help, please visit www.bdaf.org.uk.