Stay Safe this Bank Holiday Weekend
Earlier this month the entire country was left shocked by the frankly outrageous public displays of needless violence in the riots and looting in major cities across the UK. Homes and businesses across the country were left reeling as they calculated the total cost of the destruction.
Although the violence demonstrated in the riots understandably received extensive press attention, which has played a valuable role in helping police to identify and reprimand those involved, there is one type of violence that is often well hidden from the media spotlight.
While our region was lucky enough to escape the brutality of the riots, we aren't quite as fortunate to be able to avoid the devastation caused by domestic abuse.
Alcohol is often a contributing factor in many domestic abuse cases and with the Bank Holiday weekend fast approaching many people may choose to head to the pub or opt for that extra drink.
Of course, we're not trying to stop people from having a good time as millions of people in the UK are able to manage their alcohol intake responsibly - but alcohol's effects as a drug can bring out the worst in people.
As the UK riots proved, people from all walks of life can become embroiled in violent behaviour, especially when alcohol is added into the equation, and often there is no predicting how people may react.
Unfortunately one of the areas that both Citizens Advice Bureaux and DAWN's family law team is sadly called upon to deal with is domestic abuse - often linked to alcohol abuse.
Through our work, we will provide victims of domestic violence with confidential, free legal support to protect them from abuse, while our partner organisations can offer much needed emotional support and counselling.
Domestic abuse will take a number of forms from physical and sexual to economical and emotional abuse and can affect both men and women. It may begin as occasional incidents, but will often become much more frequent and more aggressive.
Many victims avoid seeking help as they pray it will never happen again, or are frightened of the repercussions, but speaking up is always the first step in helping to change the situation.
If any Northumbrian has any concerns about domestic abuse this Bank Holiday weekend, whether it's about their own situation, a friend or a family member, they should always seek advice straight away.
Anyone requiring advice on the above issue should contact DAWN Advice on 01670 785 543 in confidence.
Liz Chadwick is the Chief Executive of DAWN Advice, a Northumberland-based social enterprise which offers free, confidential and impartial advice on a range of matters including debt, housing, employment, welfare benefits and family law. DAWN Advice is a member of the Citizens Advice service.
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