SENIOR domestic abuse investigator is calling on the community to help stamp out violence in the home – insisting: “Please don't turn a blind eye to it.”

Detective Sergeant Carl Moss said tonight (Thursday, November 15) neighbours and relatives of victims could help bring to an end their ordeals – which are often suffered behind closed doors.

The officer, head of Darlington's domestic abuse investigation team, said countless crimes go unreported and added: “People have a social and moral obligation to protect others.”

In the Northern Territories of Australia, the law states that anyone who believes someone is being hurt by a member of their family must report it to the police.

Det Sgt Moss said: “We are not at that stage in this country, but it's deemed so serious in that part of the world that it's a crime not to inform the authorities if you suspect something.

“The message I want to get over is people would be willing to report minor crimes to the police – a simple theft or damage – yet for some reason they don't with domestic abuse.

“People need to realise that victims are often some of the most vulnerable in the community, who are unable to report domestic abuse themselves because of the many barriers.

“It may well be that their one call or contact to police or other agencies such as social services or Crimestoppers could save that person's life . . . it really is as important as that.

“Three or four women a week die as a result of domestic abuse. How would they live with themselves if they thought 'I could have prevented that. I could have stopped it happening'?”

Det Sgt Moss revealed how his department deals with a monthly average of 260 calls, but said reports from the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities are “exceptionally rare”.

“Logic would say it is happening in those areas, too,” he said. “I would seek to reassure that we possess the skills and knowledge to support and help them to escape their abuse.

“One in four women suffer domestic abuse if those statistics are accurate, that means abuse in Darlington is under-reported. There are many victims who are suffering in silence.

“I would urge members of the public who think someone is in an abusive relationship to make that contact. People think 'it's nothing to do with me' but it is a community problem.

“We deal with victims and offences that could have been prevented by people just making that contact . . . all will be treated professionally and in confidence if they wish.”

People can call the police on 101 for non-emergencies or 999 in emergencies.

Sanctuary Carr-gomm can be contacted on (01325) 352501, and the number for Family Help is (01325) 364486. Crimestoppers is 0800 555111.

The website may also be useful.

Det Sgt Moss or a member of his team will be attending forthcoming PACT (Police And Communities Together) meetings. Venues and dates can be obtained by asking a police officer, PCSO or contacting 101.