A new initiative has launched across South Yorkshire to urge anyone experiencing domestic abuse to come forward.
The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit are using animations to tell the stories of eight local residents to show anyone can suffer.
Graham Jones, Head of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, said: “There’s been a decrease in the reports of domestic abuse during lockdown and we’re concerned this isn’t a true reflection of the situation.
“People have spent more time in their homes and potentially more time around an abuser than they would do ordinarily.
“With the timing of the campaign alongside the lifting of lockdown restrictions, we really hope to see an increase in the number of people referring themselves to the organisations available to help.”
Each two-minute video depicts the survivor’s experiences and explains how accessing support allowed them to live a happy life away from harm.
The variety of abuse stories include male to female, female to male, a gay man, financial abuse, forced marriage, and a young person.
“In the morning we run.” This is how Gwen removed herself from a #domesticabuse environment to access support services in South Yorkshire.
If you or a friend or family member are experiencing similar situations, please call and ask for support. You are not alone. pic.twitter.com/ekYBoySPuJ
— South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (@SY_VRU) May 20, 2021
Jessica Morris, 23, a domestic abuse survivor, said: “I think it’s really important that a male voice was included.
“It’s primarily women who suffer – that’s no secret and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise – but it was great of them to include a variety of voices as people sometimes have a preconceived idea of who can be a victim.”
The campaign is a collaboration between four local authorities and South Yorkshire Police.
Miss Morris, of Penistone, South Yorkshire, added: “I didn’t realise I was abused until afterwards. Before that, I didn’t even know what it was – I didn’t know about the manipulation, the love bombing and the slow progression into that power and control.
“Using the victims’ voices is really important because it allows things to click. You think ‘hang on, I’m feeling like this because they’re doing that to me too’. It took me two years, but I got there eventually.
“If I would’ve seen a campaign that described what was happening to me at the time, I would’ve been able to make that link a lot quicker.”
Mr Jones hopes the unit will have a more accurate picture of domestic violence levels across South Yorkshire as a result of the campaign.
You can watch the animations here.