Tunbridge Wells charity DAVSS backs Kent Police drop-in centre

    Domestic abuse victims suffering in silence could be helped by a new drop-in centre in Tunbridge Wells.

    Last week Kent Police opened a safe space to help sufferers at the Salvation Army base in Bayhall Road, days after concerning statistics were released.

    Data from the West Kent charity DAVSS [Domestic Abuse Victim Support Service] showed that last year 271 women and 14 men reported an incident.

    In Tonbridge, the figure was 226 females and 18 men. The drop-in centre held its first session on Monday November 27, and will open every other Monday between 10.30am and 12.30pm.

    Sergeant Andy Miller said: “The new one-stop shop in Tunbridge Wells will allow us to work even more closely with our partners to help keep victims safe.

    “I would urge anyone who may be affected by domestic abuse to come and speak to us in confidence.”

    There is already a one-stop shop in Tonbridge which opens every Wednesday from 9.30am to 11.30am at Circles Home Russett, 4 Wharf Road.

    Mark Hutcheon, Chief Executive of DAVSS, said: “We are supportive of anything to support victims and we have put our logo to it as they are referring people onwards to DAVSS.

    “There is a place for these one-stop shops, and we are already supporting the one in Tonbridge.”

    DAVSS statistics suggest that many men are not coming forward, considering Matthew Scott, the Police & Crime Commissioner [PCC] for Kent, recently cited that 40 per cent of victims could be men.

    The PCC recently held a press conference alongside Mark Brooks, Chairman of domestic abuse charity ManKind, where he called on the force to be more approachable.

    Mr Scott said: “Sometimes male victims of domestic abuse don’t have as much faith in the criminal justice system as women. They don’t feel that they will be believed.

    “More work needs to be done by police forces and the wider criminal justice system to give men the same confidence as women, so that they report in greater numbers.”

    Mr Hutcheon agreed that male domestic abuse is under-reported.

    He added: “If the man is hit he may not think he is a domestic abuse victim – maybe that has something to do with the male psyche.

    “We are hoping to show that males can be victims of domestic abuse and we can support them, but a lot of males may not know they are victims, or be immersed in the macho culture.”