DORSET Council is supporting 16 days of national action to tackle domestic abuse by launching its own visual campaign.

Today marks the beginning of the national campaign, 16 days of Action Against Domestic Abuse, which will finish on December 10.

Dorset Council is supporting the initiative which takes place each year by launching a visual campaign to signpost people to support if they are experiencing domestic abuse.

November 25 also marks White Ribbon Day, where community leaders are asked to lead by example and speak out against all kinds of domestic abuse.

It forms part of the council’s year-round work to tackle domestic abuse which includes working closely with local partners to support and protect people affected by domestic abuse and to bring perpetrators to justice.

Residents are also being asked to have their say on Dorset Council's recently published draft Dorset Domestic Abuse Strategy. The consultation closes on December 12.

Councillor Graham Carr-Jones, portfolio holder for Housing and Community Safety, said: “The aim of the campaign is to let Dorset residents struggling at home know that support is always available, and how to access it.

“Anyone can be affected by domestic abuse and If you are finding family life difficult, please reach out. Our partners at Paragon are there for you, whatever your age and no matter what time of day it is.

“Their specialist team offers community and accommodation-based services and give expert advice, information, and emotional support to ensure safety and build the confidence to move on.”

Councillor Molly Rennie, Dorset Councillor who leads on domestic abuse work, said: “For some people, sadly, home has not been the safest of places during the pandemic.

“With the steep rise in domestic abuse reports nationally we’ve seen in the last year, the message of the 16 Days of Action campaign is sadly more important than ever.

“Working with our partners, we are committed to tackling domestic abuse in all its forms. This includes preventing it, supporting people experiencing domestic abuse and prosecuting offenders. Domestic abuse is totally unacceptable.

“If you are feeling unsafe or frightened because someone in your home is hurting you, either physically or mentally, it’s not your fault. Confidential advice and support is always there for you, whatever your age or gender.”

If you are affected by domestic abuse, call the Paragon domestic abuse helpline on 0800 032 5204, 24 hours a day. You can also search online for ‘DVA help Dorset’ or visit the Dorset Council website for contact details.

In an emergency, always dial 999.