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Domestic Abuse: Everyone’s Business

26 Junred wine spilled on sofa

A recent news story surrounding Conservative MP, and potential Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has opened debate on whether you should call the police if you are concerned for the safety of a neighbour. It follows an incident where police were called to the home of Johnson’s girlfriend after neighbours reported hearing “...screaming followed by slamming and banging.” Contacting the police in such circumstances is the correct action to take and the actions of the neighbours should be praised and not criticised, as it has been by some people. 


The reaction from some MPs and journalists has been disappointing with many suggesting that it was a “private matter” and that the neighbours were wrong to involve the police. Marcus Fysh, the Conservative MP for Yeovil, told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme: “I don’t see any reason why a private matter should be a public matter.”

The Conservative MP for West Suffolk, Matt Hancock told BBC’s Breakfast programme: “I don't think anyone would like their conversations late at night to be snooped on and listened in to.” 

Other MPs and journalists have praised the actions of the neighbours, highlighting that they were right to share their concerns with the police and the importance of speaking out against potential domestic abuse: 

Jess Phillips (Labour MP for Birmingham, Yardley) talking passionately in the Commons about domestic abuse. 

Scottish National Party Leader, Nicola Sturgeon, also supported the neighbours, using her Twitter account to respond to a tweet from the right wing journalist Toby Young:

Sports Presenter, Laura Winter, shared her experiences on Twitter, praising the intervention of a neighbour which helped her to break free from an abusive relationship. 

Police forces have also come out in support of the neighbours, encouraging people to alert them to any concerns and that any recordings could be important evidence. 

This has been backed up by the blogger writing under the alias The Secret Barrister, who took to Twitter to respond to the Conservative MP for Braintree (and Boris Johnson supporter) James Cleverly:

Everyone’s Business 

Contacting the police is the correct action to take if you are concerned about the safety of a neighbour. As the police and Secret Barrister point out: it has real value and has helped people to break free from abusive relationships.

For too long, the idea that domestic abuse is a private issue has deterred people from coming forward to access support, through fears of being judged or not being believed. It is society’s role to challenge this by continuing to raise awareness of domestic abuse, as well as highlighting the support services available for those affected.

If you would like to know more about any of the services that we provide to support people who are experiencing domestic abuse, please get in touch. You can call Leeway on 0300 561 0077 or email admin@leewaynwa.org.uk

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