Anti-abuse drive launch

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Yourviews -

ANEW cam­paign to help bring do­mes­tic abuse out from be­hind closed doors was launched last week across Hal­ton War­ring­ton and Cheshire.

‘Open The Door’ aims to give peo­ple the tools to feel safe and con­fi­dent to start a con­ver­sa­tion about un­healthy re­la­tion­ships and to take the first steps to seek ad­vice and sup­port.

Young peo­ple have helped to launch the cam­paign.

They have taken part in ac­tiv­i­ties to help raise their aware­ness of do­mes­tic abuse and in par­tic­u­lar teenage re­la­tion­ship abuse.

Ac­tiv­i­ties in­cluded teenage re­la­tion­ship abuse quizzes, re­la­tion­ship bingo and healthy re­la­tion­ships.

Jamie, one of the young peo­ple at­tend­ing the event, said: “The ac­tiv­i­ties are help­ful for all dif­fer­ent ages and help to un­der­stand re­la­tion­ships.”

Last year Cheshire Con­stabu- lary recorded 2,887 do­mes­tic abuse crimes and 833 re­sulted in in­jury.

The cam­paign en­cour­ages vic­tims, per­pe­tra­tors, friends and fam­ily to ac­cess in­for­ma­tion about how to spot the signs of do­mes­tic abuse and how to get early help.

Many of the ini­tial signs and symp­toms of abuse can be tricky to spot from the out­side so the cam­paign is ask­ing peo­ple to trust their in­stincts.

Some of the signs to look out for are: ● Un­der­min­ing you, so you lose con­fi­dence. ● Iso­lat­ing you from your friends and fam­ily. ● Mak­ing all the de­ci­sions in your life, in­clud­ing what you wear, who you talk to and where you go and when. ● Mak­ing you do things that you don’t want to do. ● Con­trol­ling your money. ● Fol­low­ing you when you go out. ● Need­ing to know where you are at all time.

Rachel is a do­mes­tic abuse sur­vivor who asked for help.

She said: “I feel more con­fi­dent in my­self and have re­gained my self-es­teem and some con­trol of the way I feel. I have gained more con­fi­dence in my­self now and I want to live my life.

“I know what to look for in fu­ture re­la­tion­ships and have the con­fi­dence and strength to do it alone.”

Po­lice And Crime Com­mis­sioner David Keane is spear­head­ing the ini­tia­tive.

He said: “Cheshire’s Open The Door cam­paign will pro­mote self-help and early in­ter­ven­tion for peo­ple who are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing do­mes­tic abuse.

“It will en­cour­age res­i­dents to recog­nise the signs of do­mes­tic abuse and be con­fi­dent in speak- ing openly about it in or­der to get help ei­ther for them­selves or to help some­one who is in an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship.

“It is very of­ten fam­ily mem­bers or close friends who can see when a re­la­tion­ship is not healthy, or doesn’t seem quite right so this cam­paign is en­cour­ag­ing friends and fam­ily to un­der­stand how to spot abuse and then to have the con­fi­dence to have the right con­ver­sa­tion to sup­port some­one they are wor­ried about.

“En­cour­ag­ingly, re­search car­ried out re­veals that, once sup­port has been re­ceived, 80% of peo­ple felt safer.

“If you, or some­one you know is in a re­la­tion­ship that doesn’t quite feel right, speak to some­one about it.”

For help and ad­vice and to ac­cess self-sup­port ser­vices at openthe­do­orcheshire.org.uk or call 0300 123 7047, op­tion 2.

Zara Wood­cock, ACC Janette McCormick, ‘pho­to­bomber’ Jamie, Ch Insp Alex McMil­lan, and PCC David Keane at the launch

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