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Weston campaigners joined by Dame Joan Collins to march against domestic violence

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 November 2017

Dame Joan Collins with her daughter and campaigners.

Dame Joan Collins with her daughter and campaigners.

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Dame Joan Collins joined Weston-super-Mare campaigners to march against domestic violence, while flowers were planted in Grove Park to mark an international event this weekend.

The Soroptimists in Bristol. The Soroptimists in Bristol.

Saturday was the International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women, and it recognised how 100 women are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales every year.

The Weston Soroptimists organised a march in Bristol, alongside actor Dame Joan, who spoke about her own experiences.

In the past 12 months, domestic abuse accounted for nearly 13 per cent of all crimes in the Avon and Somerset force area, totalling 16,900 reports.

Louise Branch, domestic abuse co-ordinator at North Somerset Council, said: “More than 6,700 adults live with domestic abuse in North Somerset.

Volunteers in Grove Park raising awareness of domestic violence. Volunteers in Grove Park raising awareness of domestic violence.

“The impact upon these individuals and their families can include loss of confidence, feeling isolated and afraid.”

In Grove Park, Citizens Advice North Somerset refreshed a flower bed it planted 15 years ago to raise awareness of domestic abuse. It worked with the Friends of Grove Park and North Somerset Council to plant Darwin’s barberry, which bears orange flowers in the summer.

Orange is the colour chosen by the United Nations to symbolise a future free from violence.

Ms Branch added: “It’s fantastic so many people in North Somerset care about people in this situation which has resulted in great local support services and now, through this project, a lovely, peaceful place to remember all those affected by domestic abuse.”

Dame Joan Collins. Dame Joan Collins.

Avon and Somerset police has launched a campaign to encourage victims to seek help, and offer advice to those concerned about friends and family members.

Detective Superintendent Marie Wright said: “Domestic abuse is not a private matter, it’s a serious crime and we all need to play a part in helping to end it.

“The more conversations we can have about the issue the easier it will be for people to come forward and ask for help.”

The police campaign wants to help people start difficult conversations and will give guidance on how to help others.

Citizens Advice inviting people to help plant a flowerbed and light candles to raise awareness of domestic violence. Grove Park, Weston. Citizens Advice inviting people to help plant a flowerbed and light candles to raise awareness of domestic violence. Grove Park, Weston.

For more information on who to contact for support, visit www.thisisnotanexcuse.org

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