Bedfordshire Police launch blog series to empower survivors of domestic abuse and male violence

Domestic Abuse

Bedfordshire Police have launched a real-life blog series to empower survivors of domestic abuse, rape, and assault to speak out about male violence.

The MVAWG (Male Violence Against Women and Girls) blogs raise awareness of the impact male violence has on people’s lives.

In the first blog, a police officer speaks out about the physical and mental abuse she suffered from her ex-partner.

She said: “By sharing my story, I hope I can give at least one person the confidence to come forward. The journey isn’t easy, but you will be believed and there is support available.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Dee Perkins, the force’s lead for MVAWG, said: “We are working to create a safer environment for women and girls across Bedfordshire. As part of that work, we are creating a safe space for women’s voices to be heard.

“As these survivors bravely speak out, we must all do more to challenge these attitudes and behaviours, and we are working on a number of different projects across the county to eradicate them.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Perkins said, there was a ‘significant focus on targeting perpetrators’ and that they would “hold people engaging in this abhorrent behaviour accountable and take police action where we can.”

She said Police are working with several partners and are “committed to getting their response right” and “earning the public’s trust.”

Crimes such as rape and sexual offences, stalking and domestic abuse disproportionally affect women. Police are encouraging people to come forward and talk about these issues to tackle the problem.

In May, Bedfordshire Police released a video where survivors shared their experiences of harassment, sexual assault, and domestic abuse.

They also highlighted everyday issues such as cat calling and misogyny.

The force plan to continue using real life stories to encourage people to talk about their own challenges. They also hope it will encourage everyone to call out unacceptable behaviour.

Project Firefly was launched in May to ensure women no longer face unacceptable behaviour in places like pubs and clubs. The project includes:

  • specialist training for officers and licensed premises
  • an increased police presence
  • a social media campaign aimed at challenging perpetrators

Last week, training was delivered in Bedford through the Pub Watch Scheme. This focused on spotting suspicious behaviour and supporting someone in need.

The campaign focuses on male violence against women and girls, but Bedfordshire Police remain committed to tackling all forms of abuse.

They support victims of any gender and hold all perpetrators to account.

They are looking to support other survivors who feel confident to come forward and tell their story. Anyone interested should contact Bedfordshire Police’s corporate communications team.

All stories will be handles with the utmost sensitivity and participants can be anonymised.

To find out more about Project Firefly and the force’s wider response to MVAWG visit Bedfordshire Police’s website.

Reports can be made to police on 101, or via the online reporting tool.

In an emergency, always call 999.

Victim support can also be contacted for free and confidential support, whether the crime has been reported or not.

Bedfordshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) is contactable by emailing or calling 01234 897052.

They offer free support and practical help to anyone in Bedfordshire and Luton who has experienced sexual violence and/or sexual abuse.

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