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Avon & Somerset Police Federation

Ch Insp Sharon Baker Wins PFEW Women In Policing Award

9 June 2021

An Avon and Somerset Police Officer who spoke out about her experiences of domestic abuse – and encouraged colleagues to do the same – has won the Police Federation’s Annual Outstanding Contribution to Women in Policing Award.

Ch Insp Sharon Baker bravely made a video about living in an abusive relationship to assist police officers and staff in a similar situation. The video was entitled “It’s time to break the silence – I am the victim of domestic abuse.”

Sharon now works tirelessly to raise awareness about the hurdles of reporting domestic abuse for police officers and staff and supports colleagues who find themselves in a similar situation.

Sharon said: “Domestic abuse can happen to anyone. No matter your age, gender, your job or even your rank.

“To start with, I was utterly loved. Bowled over by affection… [Eventually] I felt absolutely trapped. Domestic abuse erodes any confidence you have in yourself and it slowly isolates you until one day you look around and realise you are all alone. I had become paralysed with fear. And too frightened to tell anyone,” Sharon told the video.

After realising she could no longer live in terror, she contacted the control room and spoke to her duty inspector Supt Liz Hughes about what had been happening. She was met with kindness and reassurance and has since been able to share her story with her supervisor and work colleagues.

“It was the best decision I’ve ever made. There was no ‘why?’, no judgement, just unwavering support and belief,” Sharon added.

Supt Hughes said: “Sharon and I had a great working relationship. I had worked with her for several years and knew her well. I noticed she’d been looking a bit more tired and staying at work later than necessary but I was genuinely shocked when she told me the full extent of the domestic abuse she had been suffering.”

Sharon was handed her Police Federation Award today (Wednesday 9 June) by Avon and Somerset Police Chief Constable Andy Marsh and Avon and Somerset Police Federation Chairman Iain Prideaux.

Iain said: “Thank you Sharon for being a trailblazer, an inspiration, and a woman who through your kindness and leadership has found the courage to challenge one of the few remaining taboos. Your example will lead many of our police family to feel empowered to come forward and report their experiences of domestic abuse.”