Campaign targets shocking levels of domestic abuse in Polish communities

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Two thirds of women who seek refuge in Edinburgh because of domestic abuse are from a Polish background

27th November 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A campaign has been launched to tackle domestic abuse within Polish communities.

The Abuse, That’s Not Only… (Przemoc To Nie Tylko…) intiative was launched at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Saturday (25 November).

Held as part of the 16 days of Action campaign, Polish workers and volunteers supporting victims of domestic abuse came together to raise awareness within the community about various forms of domestic abuse; the impact it has on victims, including their children and families, as well as available help in the UK. 

“Two thirds of all women in Edinburgh refuges who are victims of domestic abuse are Polish,” said Magda Czarnecka, project development manager at charity Feniks, which offers counselling and support.

“Domestic violence within the Polish community is primarily associated with physical violence. Meanwhile, the abuser can use more sophisticated methods of manipulation and control.”

The campaign has highlighted that Poles living in the UK often live in vulnerable situations, and this can lead to violence or abuse.

Katarzyna, a Pole living in Scotland, is just one of many women who have contacted Feniks.

She said: “My partner used all our money for alcohol and we didn’t pay bills on time. I was hungry many times. He took the internet cable with him to work, to cut my access to contact with family and friends.”

"People experiencing domestic violence, often without knowing it, are embroiled in a vicious circle of fear, hope and deceiving themselves,” stressed Adrianna Sosnowska, who runs a support group for female victims of domestic violence in Aberdeen.

“Our mission is to reach out to those women and show that there is a way out and there are institutions in the UK that can be reached for help, even if they do not speak the language. Breaking the silence can significantly change their lives."

A free Polish language helpline has been setup, and can be accessed by ringing 0800 061 4004 on Wednesdays from 9.30am - 2.30pm and Fridays from 9.30am -12.30pm.