Police have shared a photograph of a dog sitting on a bench in a bid to help those in abusive relationships who might need access to helpline numbers.
Thames Valley Police shared the image of a Pomeranian sitting on a pink bench surrounded by flowers, describing it as “a cute puppy photo” that you might have otherwise been sent by a friend or seen on social media.
But if you zoom in on the lower portion of the bench there are three phone numbers listed: Victims First (a crime victim helpline), Galop LGBT+ abuse helpline and the Men’s Advice Line for men who are victims of abuse.
All three numbers have been photoshopped into the picture so that people in volatile situations can have them to hand without being visible at first glance.
In a caption on the photograph, which was posted on 11 June, Thames Valley Police wrote: “Save this picture. At first glance it’s a cute puppy photo that you found on Facebook or were sent by a friend.
“But take a closer look at the front panel of the bench and you’ll find numbers that you can call if you’re stuck in an abusive relationship.
“You know that we’re on 999 or 101 but if you’re not ready to speak to us yet, keep this photo for when you need to speak to someone.”
The image has been criticised by some for being too hard to read - with people sharing suggestions about how to ensure you can read the numbers correctly.
The numbers are Victims First (0300 1234 148), Galop (0800 999 5428) and the Men’s advice line (0808 8010327).
In an updated post, the police force said: “Thank you for your feedback on our first photo. Hopefully these important numbers are easier to read this time”.
In the last week domestic abuse charities have warned about the impact of football matches on rates of violence as the Euro 2020 tournament finally gets underway.
Research found the number of domestic abuse cases reported to Lancashire police force in the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups surged by 38 per cent on the days when England lost.
Meanwhile, incidents increased by 26 per cent when the team either won or drew a match.
Ruth Davison, chief executive of Refuge, which is the UK’s largest provider of shelters for domestic abuse victims, said: “As the Euros start, our message to people experiencing domestic abuse remains clear: You are not alone, Refuge is here for you.”
Anyone who requires help or support can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline which is open 24/7 365 days per year on 0808 2000 247 or via their website https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk