It’s known as a day of love but there’s a dark side to Valentine’s Day, with a spike in domestic violence complaints common after February 14. Women’s Legal Service (WLS) Queensland reported a 46 per cent spike in calls to the domestic violence helpline above the daily average in the two days following Valentine’s Day in 2016. The two days after Valentine’s Day in 2016 were the busiest in the helpline’s history.
In our clients’ experience, Valentine’s Day provides an almost open licence to contact ex-partners… What our lawyers have told us is it’s not uncommon for perpetrators of violence to use that day as an excuse.” – WLS acting co-ordinator Angela Lynch
Oftentimes, clients had flowers, chocolates and cards left at their doors or on their cars, despite no-contact orders being in place. It sends a dark message for women who are escaping violence – that can mean a lot of things, they’re being watched, that the relationship only ends if he says it ends. Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman said the most frightening decision a woman could make was to leave a violent partner. “To hear that some perpetrators use Valentine’s Day as a way of intimidating women, despite no-contact orders being in place, is disturbing and reveals the lengths some perpetrators will go to,” Ms Fentiman said. Romance in the context of an equal, loving and respectful partnership should be celebrated. But on Valentine’s Day, people should keep in mind that separation can be the most dangerous time for women experiencing domestic violence.
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Since Valentine’s is a day to celebrate love and relationships and since figures show a significant increase in the number of incidents of domestic abuse and sexual violence around February 14, it is no surprise that there are often several domestic violence initiatives and campaigns that are launched on this day. One uplifting example is by the Hertfordshire County Council. People affected by domestic abuse in Hertfordshire are the recipients of a Valentine’s message saying that there is renewed help and support available to them. The Herts Sunflower website is for women, children and men who are suffering from domestic abuse, or who may know someone who is being abused.
A powerful campaign highlighting domestic abuse was also launched yesterday in Tamsworth (UK) to coincide with Valentine’s Day. It’s Never OK has two aims – to challenge perpetrators of domestic abuse and encourage victims to report their abuse. This campaign spells out the message that domestic abuse is never OK – and that help is available to both victims and perpetrators.
At Transcendent Media Capital, our campaign, Free Yourself Global: Healing Families; Ending Domestic Violence also recognizes the need to help both victims and perpetrators in order to interrupt the pattern of violence. More importantly, this initiative hopes to bring together all of the voices of the participants of domestic violence, including recovering abusers, victims, children, educators, support agencies and health professionals, law enforcement agencies, politicians, celebrities and social entrepreneurs who work to aid in this cause. It is in this aim that “Free Yourself” inspires us. When all stakeholders come together in a grass roots forum, we strengthen our ability to understand, address, and end the cycle of domestic abuse. Click here to contribute your story and help be a part of the solution. For more information on how to become involved in this breakthrough campaign, email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more info on how to get help if you think or know that you are an abuser click here.