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West Mercia Women’s Aid is urging women and girls across the region who are, or who have recently been, victims of abuse to come forward and seek support.

According to the Home Office, last year around 1.2 million women suffered domestic abuse, over 400,000 were sexually assaulted, 70,000 were raped and thousands more were stalked.  These crimes are often hidden away behind closed doors, with the victim suffering in silence.  Fewer than 1 in 4 people who suffer abuse at the hands of their partner – and only around 1 in 10 women who experience serious sexual assault – report it to the police.

Kerry Gibson-Yates, Director of Operations at West Mercia Women’s Aid, explained: “Domestic violence is one of the most common hidden crimes, and those experiencing it may keep it away from family members, friends and the police, often because they feel ashamed, frightened and blame themselves.  There are far too many women, especially in rural areas, who are suffering in silence and don’t know who to turn to.”

Domestic abuse can be defined by a range of behaviours, not all of which are necessarily violent. Abuse could be psychological or sexual, right the way through to financial and emotional abuse. Victims of physical abuse are likely to experience repeat attacks, and on average someone will experience 35 assaults before reporting the matter to the police. 

Kerry went on to say, “I’d urge anyone currently suffering domestic abuse or who knows someone else who is, to contact us on 0800 783 1359 or 0800 980 3331 in Worcestershire. You do not need to suffer in silence – we can help you to find the services you need.”