The figures of domestic violence are shocking. Posed by models.
THE VIEW FROM HERE THERE has been much criticism of the police and crime commissioners who arrived last year, following elections which mostly featured total apathy towards the whole idea.
Why did we want these people? They seemed to have no qualifications, cost a great deal and many of them had political baggage attached.
In Simon Hayes, however, Hampshire and the IW may have struck lucky. Those who actually bothered to vote may well have showed some common sense while the rest of us were grumbling away and boycotting the ballot box.
For a start, those voters didn’t elect Tory hopeful Michael Mates, a truly excellent decision. Instead they chose Mr Hayes, who stood as an independent.
He’d previously been a Conservative councillor in Hampshire but let’s not hold that against him, particularly as he eschewed politics for his new role. I reckoned that was about as good as we would get and, until now, hadn’t taken much notice of this chap, beyond being thankful he wasn’t Michael Mates.
However, Mr Hayes has now instigated a wholly laudable campaign, aimed at domestic abuse. He vows "to improve victim care, encourage more victims to come forward and target more offenders by working with police, charities, voluntary organisations and other professionals across Hampshire and the IW."
Very well done, Mr Hayes. Even if you do nothing more than work on your campaign during your time in office, your salary will be money well spent.
The national statistics on domestic violence (and be assured, the Island makes its own sizeable contribution to those figures) are shocking. They should be unacceptable, except that we seem to accept them, maybe out of ignorance but still inexcusably.
What kind of violence does shock us? Well, we certainly get very alarmed when terrorists storm a shopping centre in Nairobi and massacre more than 70 people.
Quite rightly, this made front-page news (although the Taliban’s bombing of a Christian church in Pakistan, which took place in the same week and killed 85 people was deemed not to merit such headlines — presumably because there’s a pecking order in these things and shopping malls transcend churches).
Domestic violence, by contrast, comes very low in the scale of headline importance, despite the fact that for many victims it involves terror as horrendous as anything experienced by those Nairobi shoppers.
It may not have the gripping thriller element of the shopping mall massacre but anyone condemning foreign terrorists as uncivilised brutes should look at what we do in this country. Here are the facts. They may come as a shock — and so they should.
One woman in four experiences domestic violence in her lifetime and the abuse occurs in every social class, across every income bracket. Two women a week are killed in England and Wales by their current or former partner.
UK police receive domestic assistance calls at the rate of one a minute, yet only 35 per cent of domestic violence cases are reported to the police.
The last crime-survey statistics estimate 635,000 incidents annually of domestic violence in England and Wales, 81 per cent of victims being women and 19 per cent men.
On average, a woman is assaulted 35 times before her first call to the police.
Imagine the terror. But it’s not just the immediate victim who is terrorised. In 90 per cent of domestic violence incidents in family households, children were in the same or the next room.
Ah yes, the children. A couple of high-profile cases of child abuse have highlighted our inadequacies in protecting these victims and, you may think, well, at least it’s all out there in the media and we know what’s going on.
Think again. For every headlined case — Baby P, Jasmine Beckford, Hamzah Khan — there are many more which completely escape our notice. On average, one child a week is killed at the hands of another person in England and Wales, including babies, which are killed at the rate of one every 20 days.
Infants aged under one are at greater risk of being killed by another person than any other single age group in England and Wales.
Every ten days in England and Wales, one child is killed by a parent (this includes step-parents and partners of the victim’s biological parent.)
All this is reliably documented but it seldom makes national news, this routine brutality in which 52 children a year are killed by human hand, more than 100 women killed by their partners.
It’s happening in this supposedly civilised country and, yes, on the Island too, each case involving suffering and agony.
Why do we think we’re any better than those terrorists? We can certainly notch up death tolls to rival any of theirs, can be just as ruthlessly cruel and terrifying, not even to strangers in a shopping mall but to our own families in our own homes.
Simon Hayes couldn’t have chosen a better campaign and we should do all we can, whether through donations to domestic-violence charities and refuges or through professional expertise, to support him.