films that make a difference
With unprecedented access to the Thames Valley Police Domestic Abuse Teams, and the victims of violence they are helping, Behind Closed Doors gives an extraordinary insight into the most common violent crime to take place in the home.
Shot over 12 months, and starting from the moment a 999 call is received, the film follows three brave women who each waive their right to anonymity to show how insidious and terrifying domestic abuse can be. The complex emotions involved when someone you love becomes violent are also exposed, and the difficulties for police when those feelings mean victims are not completely honest.
With an unfolding, present tense narrative, the film also exposes the lack of consistency in terms of the length of sentence given to offenders. When the Police repeatedly take one perpetrator to court only to have magistrates release him again and again, the film demonstrates how the huge ordeal of going to court for these victims of domestic abuse does not mean that, in their eyes, justice will automatically follow.
Meet Jemma, a 33-year-old mother of two, who suffered a vicious attack from a former boyfriend, after going out with friends. After months of harassment via phone calls and texts he came to her house in the middle of the night and his arrival is captured on CCTV. She went to the police and we follow her over 6 months as she decides to go to trial and challenge his 'not-guilty' plea.
Meet Sabrina, who we meet on return from hospital, after being savagely beaten by her boyfriend. The attack lasts six hours, but at first attacker Paul claims that she was beaten by someone else outside the flat – despite all the blood being in the bedroom. Sabrina has presented to the police before, but in the past has been too scared to press charges. We follow her through the justice process as she tackles her own emotional challenges.
Meet Helen, who struggles to leave a violent relationship of ten years but who, step by step, walks away for good. Helen’s story is one of violence, followed by harassment and psychological control and coercion. Helen shows just how difficult it is to get out of an emotionally abusive and highly controlling relationship.
Meet the Domestic Abuse support workers
Up and down the country are organisations who specialize in helping victims of domestic violence. They work independently to, but closely with, the police and they support people regardless of whether or not they wish to pursue legal proceedings. Their priority is keeping victims safe, whatever they choose.
Read About the Dash Charity
About Reducing the Risk
Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse is an Oxfordshire charity which is dedicated to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of adults and children at risk through domestic abuse. The charity provides the Independent Domestic Violence Advisory (IDVA) service for the county. IDVAs work intensively with victims of abuse at high risk to ensure their immediate safety and stay alongside them for as long as they need so that they can overcome trauma and rebuild their lives.
The safety of adults and children at risk of harm depends on services working closely together. Reducing the Risk trains networks of front line staff to work together to tackle abuse - so that wherever adults and children turn for help they receive safe responsive support and are linked through the networks to the resources they need. There are nearly 1000 active Domestic Abuse Champions across a wide range of agencies and schools in Oxfordshire, and the charity advises other areas in developing this approach.
The charity provides a number of further services including outreach, and support to extend therapeutic resources for children and young people affected through abuse.