A woman who was abused by her ex-partner has decided to tell her story to encourage other victims to report abuse.
Joy Sayers, 38, from Penrith was abused by her ex-partner. She was left with facial bruising, loss of hair, scratches and grazes to her arms, legs and forehead.
“I would like to encourage anyone who has experienced domestic abuse to come forward so that they can seek justice, and hopefully reduce the risk of it happening to another woman.
“The violence was awful, but the hardest part for me has been the aftermath. Some people in Penrith have accused me of lying and a number of so called friends have taken his side. I never expected this kind of reaction to being assaulted, and the last few months have been incredibly difficult for me.
“However I was determined to see him prosecuted as what he did to me was completely wrong, particularly as our young sons were in the house at the time. Although I would never say anything negative to them about their father, it is important to me that they do not grow up believing that violence is acceptable.
“This is the first time I have ever experienced anything like this – the physical violence was completely out of the blue. It was such a shock and I was really scared to talk to the police about it. However I would like to urge women in a similar position to report violence in the home as no one should have to accept it as part of their life.”
– Joy Sayers, Victim
In March the incident was reported to Cumbria Police by a member of the public.
Since then her ex-partner Michael Jacques, 50, from Penrith, has been sentenced to 140 days in prison, which has been suspended for 12 months. He must pay £150 compensation, £190 court costs and complete 60 hours community service.
“I am pleased that Jacques has been punished for his actions. Domestic violence will not be tolerated in Cumbria – no one should have to live in fear in their own homes. I would encourage anyone who has any concerns to get in touch; all reports will be dealt with sensitively and professionally.”
Cumbria Police isworking to reduce the number of domestic violence incidents during this year's World Cup. Research shows that during major football tournaments domestic violence can increase.
Research released as part of the Woman's Aid campaign showed that across England during the 2010 World Cup:
Domestic violence increased by 27.7 per cent when England beat Slovenia 1-0.
Household violence increased by 31.5 per cent when England were knocked out losing 4-1 to Germany.
“It is a sad fact that historically, domestic violence increases during such events as the World Cup. Therefore putting in place schemes such as these is to be welcomed. I believe we must all do what we can to reinforce the message that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated, and in order to achieve this partners and agencies, along with Cumbria Constabulary, must work together to reach as many groups as possible.”
Domestic violence is increasing year on year in Cumbria.
A report from Cumbria police highlights that the number of alcohol related domestic violence incidents in particular rose over the festive period last year.
“We work every year to highlight and showcase the ways in which victims of domestic violence can get help. Seeing an increase in the number of reports does not mean that it is not being tackled, it shows that people want to report it.
“It is a fact that domestic violence can be chronically under-reported so although an increase in violence of any kind is very worrying, the rise in the number of incidents we recorded may also be encouraging if it meant that more people had the confidence to pick up the phone and ask for help."
– Detective Superintendent Mike Forrester
Last year Cumbria Police’s Crime Prevention Officersvisited 267 high risk victims of domestic abuse across the county, to helpensure they were as safe as possible from further attack.
This work is known as the “Sanctuary Scheme”. It was carried out in partnership with Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service and housing providers, so that families who are living in fear can have the reassurance of a level of security that will afford them some protection.
“I welcome the fact that there have been more reports of domestic violence showing that victims are willing to come forward.
"However, I am extremely disappointed that these latest set of figures show how much domestic violence is alcohol related there is no excuse for this type of behaviour. It is only by us all working together that we will make a difference.”
– Richard Rhodes, Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner
More than half of all reported domestic violence incidents from across Cumbria over the Christmas period, were alcohol related.
The figures, released by Cumbria police, show that there were 950 reports of domestic violence between 19th November and 6th January, with 498 of them related to alcohol.
In December alone, 612 domestic violence incidents were reported to police, compared to 552 in 2011.
"We know that domestic violence can be chronically under-reported so although an increase in violence of any kind is very worrying, the rise in the number of incidents we recorded may also be encouraging if it meant that more people had the confidence to pick up the phone and ask for help.
"What is very concerning - although not that surprising - is that more than half of the incidents police were called to had escalated as a result of too much alcohol."
– Detective Chief Inspector Mike Forrester, Cumbria Police