A 16-day campaign of action aims to raise awareness of rural domestic abuse.

A 2019 study discovered that domestic abuse in rural areas is under-reported by 50 per cent compared to urban areas, and victims suffer for 25 per cent longer than urban survivors.

West Oxfordshire District Council recently passed a motion to commit to making West Oxfordshire streets safer for women and girls.

Councillor Merilyn Davies, cabinet member for communities and housing, said: “Domestic abuse is a horrible and insidious crime that affects victims physically, emotionally and mentally.

“Victims often feel trapped and some may suffer in silence. As a council, we take this very seriously and we want to make sure our residents feel safe, and know how to seek help if they are being abused or know someone who is.”

It is offering two-hour sessions free of charge for groups of 10 or more people to learn more about what support is available and how to access it.

For those who want to help victims and survivors of domestic abuse, there are also opportunities for Domestic Abuse Champion Training, which will enable them to be more active in delivering projects in their communities.

Covid-19 had a significant impact on victims, with many unable to seek support or escape from abuse.

The sessions have been funded by WODC's Contain Outbreak Management Fund and will be delivered by local domestic abuse charity, Reducing the Risk.

In addition, Cut it Out, for hairdressing and beauty professionals and for students at Abingdon and Witney College, will be held on 6 December 2021.

Tickets are available for this online event through Eventbrite.

There are also plans to stencil poignant messages in car parks across the district.

More information is available at www.westoxon.gov.uk/communities-and-leisure/community-safety/domestic-abuse/