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Dear Richard Madeley, abuse does not always leave a bruise!

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This week, “agony uncle” Richard Madeley offered advice on domestic abuse to an anonymous writer who had concerns about fighting and loud bangs coming from a property next door. He advises the writer not to interfere, saying: “If they were going to kill each other they’d have done it by now.” He then goes on to suggest that any potential abuse couldn’t possibly be serious or “you’d have noticed black eyes, cut lips and the like.”

Where does one begin? The fact that the editor didn’t pick up that such a concerning letter required an expert response or at the very least an addendum or signposting to support services? Or the fact that we have so many public figures with huge platforms who still believe and publicly declare that domestic abuse can only be serious when it is physical or when there are “signs”. Even more shocking considering the government rolled out a whole awareness campaign addressing domestic abuse during the lockdown period.

Imagine someone sticking a knife behind your back and daring you to call for help or threatening to harm you if you walk out of the door.

Domestic abuse service providers like The Haven have been running campaigns calling on people to be vigilant and report any suspicions during the lockdown knowing all too well that lockdown has isolated victims and created all kinds of barriers to them calling for help. Imagine someone sticking a knife behind your back and daring you to call for help or threatening to harm you if you walk out of the door.

People have lost their lives to abusive partners in this period. This is not a time to mind your business. Please interfere if you witness anything concerning. Call the police. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Just know that you could be saving a life. It is clear that we still have so much work to do as a society. Please if you need help and advise with serious issues, do not consult an agony aunt or uncle from a tabloid. Reach out to expert support services.

National Domestic Abuse Helpline @refugecharity : 0808 200 0247
The Haven Wolverhampton @thehavenwton : 08000 194 400

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