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Tackling domestic violence in Kent

Domestic abuse. Picture posed by models
Domestic abuse. Picture posed by models

by Jo

A Kent woman has spoken out against domestic abuse and substance

Julia, (not her real name)22, saw her mother suffer for many
years at the hands of her drug addict father.

She was speaking as Kent Police, MPs and aid groups get together
for a conference to discuss the link between drink, drugs and
domestic abuse today.

She said: “They would always send us to bed if there was an
argument brewing.

“I remember me and my brother listening towards the floorboards
but we could hear it even if we didn’t do that. We would sit on our
bed and someone would scream some kind of abuse and either thump at
the wall or something.”

Domestic abuse does not just have a knock-on effect with
children in the home, it extends to when they go out too, as Julia
explained: “My confidence was really, really low. I was almost an
invisible person at school, I was bullied.”

She is urging young people not to suffer in silence: “If there
is any one out there whose parents are constantly arguing,
constantly hitting each other they should tell someone.

Sorry, this video asset has been removed.

Video: One woman's
account of living with domestic abuse

“I kept all mine to myself and it never really helped me.

"I want people to come to terms that it is not their fault and
for parents to realise not to stay together because of the kids,
they are ripping each other apart and not only that they are
ripping their kids apart.”

It is hoped today’s meeting will improve the response agencies
give when domestic violence is reported.

Almost 21,000 domestic abuse cases were reported to police here
in Kent between April 2008 and March 2009.

Chief Superintendent Lee Catling, chair of the Kent and Medway
Domestic Violence Strategy Group said: "Misuse of drugs and alcohol
are aggravating factors and can make the abuse more unpredictable
and severe.

“The impact of domestic abuse and substance misuse on family
life is devastating, particularly for children. They are victims
too, as they see and hear abuse or sense tension.

“It is a mistake to think that children are unaware of what is
happening in their homes. Children can often give detailed accounts
of what has happened and the effects can last for the rest of their

For those affected by domestic violence they are urged to call
The National Domestic Violence helpline on: 0808 2000247

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