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Domestic Violence Victim Backs Dorset Police Campaign

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7:42am 30th October 2013

A woman who endured months of domestic violence is telling others in Dorset not to suffer in silence.

"I was hospitalised 6 times and there was sexual abuse in the relationship too. I knew if I didn't go now, he would've murdered me."

The chilling words come from Sandie Marie who's suffered in 2 abusive relationships. She ran away from home aged 17 to be with her boyfriend. 2 months into the relationship he slapped her around the face. For the next 6 months the violence escalated to sexual and daily physical abuse. He controlled her money and kept her cut off from her family and friends.

Brave Sandie is now fronting a campaign led by Dorset Police with other local partner agencies encouraging victims of Domestic Violence to get help.

Domestic abuse can be reported directly to the police or through various partner agencies who offer guidance and support.

Dorset Police says it's important that victims don't suffer in silence; the cycle of abuse and honour-based violence can only be broken if it is reported or if the victim seeks help.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill people who don't speak up are putting their lives at risk;

"We must deal with this. Because every time you let abuse happen it could get worse and people die from domestic abuse and people die in Dorset from it. It's a very serious issue."

Years later, after time spent in a women's refuge and on a special learning course for domestic violence victims, Sandie founded a survivors' group for which she has received a community safety award. In her group she teaches positivity processes and relaxation techniques to help build confidence and banish negativity.

Sandie Marie has a message for men and women currently suffering domestic abuse: "There is hope and light at the end of the tunnel. Seek your freedom when the time is right for you. Outreach workers can help you to put a plan in place to leave an abusive relationship and provide you with somewhere to go.

"To anyone who is afraid to speak out I would say; the truth will always set you free.  Always tell the truth because it never changes. Be honest with yourself first and foremost. Help is out there."

For more information on support services available throughout Dorset visit http://www.dorsetforyou.com/dvahelp

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