The campaign is reaching out with the hashtag #thisisabuse.
A domestic abuse campaign went live today to encourage people to recognise the signs of abuse and coercive control, which engages with British Asian Indian women in Leicester.
Leicester City Council is working in partnership with UAVA (United Against Violence and Abuse), and Zinthiya Trust to challenge the perceptions of abuse in many different cultures across Leicester communities.
The campaign aims to help people recognise when they’re being abused and how they can come forward.
Leicester City Council, UAVA, and Zinthiya Trust want to improve understanding in the Asian Indian community of the definition of domestic abuse, including psychological abuse and coercive control, and increase the amount of British Asian Indian women accessing support locally for domestic abuse and becoming free from abuse.
Founder of Zinthiya Trust, Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan, said: “British Asian Indian women are not reporting domestic abuse in Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland.
"Some women don’t know they’re victims of abuse because their husbands’ and in-laws’ behaviours are common in many families.
"The figures on how many British Asian Indian women are victims of abuse are unreliable because I know first-hand that so many of them don’t – or can’t – come forward.
"While we recognise that more British Asian Indian women need to come forward, abuse can happen to anyone no matter your ethnicity, age, gender, or any other factor.”
Using the hashtag #thisisabuse, the campaign aims to alert people to the kinds of abuse that may not be defined as such by some.
For instance, having your passport withheld from you; confining your use of the internet; limiting or controlling your food; and having someone control your finances; can all be forms of abuse.
Many British Asian Indian women who are experiencing these forms of abuse may be isolated and be unable to speak, read, or understand English, which is why the campaign targets GP surgeries, ESOL classes, schools, mobile hair and beauty professionals, and religious support providers to educate these groups on how to spot signs of abuse or to know what to do if someone reaches out to them.
Suki Kaur, Chief Executive of Freeva, which operates the domestic and sexual violence helpline for UAVA, said: “We talk to men and women every day and we know how hard it can be. What I can say is that you can live free from abuse and recover and heal; creating the life you may not think right now is possible.”
If you recognise or relate to any of the above in your experience or that of someone you know, you can talk to and contact your doctor, teacher, council worker, a women’s organisation, Zinthiya Trust, or UAVA.
Search #thisisabuse for more information on how to support the campaign or visit leicester.gov.uk/domesticabuse.
In an emergency, when someone is being harmed, contact the police on 999.
Written by Kerry Smith
Kerry is editor of Cross Production's Niche Magazine in Leicester and has a degree in film and journalism. She writes about business news, entertainment, and local people.