Police Tweet Powerful Open Letter To Victim Of Domestic Violence

by Julie Scagell
Image via Twitter/Lochaber and Skye Police

Scottish police take a unique approach to reach out to victim of domestic violence

Approximately 1 in 3 women worldwide will experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. According to the World Health Organization, most of this violence is intimate partner violence. “Worldwide, almost one third (30%) of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner in their lifetime.”

Approximately 38 percent of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner. One police force in Scotland took a unique approach to reach out to a domestic violence victim — by addressing her anonymously, yet directly, on Twitter.

Police officers on the Lochaber and Skye Police force, which is responsible for protecting the highlands and western Scotland islands, took to Twitter to offer support and words of encouragement to a woman they believe is suffering domestic abuse at the hands of her partner.

“A letter to a young woman in Skye. We know you follow this account and want you to see this,” they said. “We’ve told you previously that we think you are at risk of domestic abuse from your partner.” They went on to say “You might not see us, you might not even like us being involved but we are always thinking about how we can help you.”

In a lot of cases, unfair blame is put on the victim’s shoulders because people assume they choose to stay in abusive relationships. But domestic violence is unique in that a lot of victims do not feel safe escaping their abusers and frequently don’t press charges for fear of continued abuse, or worse.

The police continued, “We think he’s probably told you, ‘It won’t happen again’, ‘I’m sorry”, ‘I’ll change’, he’s maybe even told you that it’s your fault – IT’S NOT. You are not trapped and you are not alone, we can help you get out, your family and friends can help you get out.”

They also pleaded with the woman to reach out to the Scottish Women’s Aid, an organization fighting to end domestic abuse against women and children and runs a 24/7 national helpline for women in need. “Lochaber and Skye Police are trying to reach out in a different way which is fascinating and exciting,” a Women’s Aid employee told BBC Scotland. Understanding how many people are out there willing to help can mean the world.

Their message is one of hope and meant to remind victims help is out there and they do not have to go through it alone. And though the social media outreach was intended for a certain unnamed woman, they later added their message was meant to help “anyone who may be at risk.”