Council backs campaign to stop domestic abuse
In the run up to St Valentine’s Day and beyond, St Helens Council is supporting a new anti-domestic abuse campaign taking place across parts of the North West.
‘Be a Lover not a Fighter’ is running across areas in Cheshire, Merseyside and Lancashire in a bid to encourage people to talk about the problem and be aware of what they should do to help if someone is experiencing domestic abuse. The campaign asks people to wear the ‘Be a Lover not a Fighter’ badge and to offer another to a friend or family member.
This year – the second year of the campaign – the initiative is focusing on children, as a staggering 90 per cent of domestic abuse is witnessed by children.
Run by public health partners, ‘Be a Lover not a Fighter’ will be seen across seven local authorities in Cheshire and Merseyside areas and across Lancashire, building on the work first delivered by the Cheshire and Merseyside Public Health Collaborative (Champs).
Liz Gaulton, Director of Public Health for St Helens Council said: “We need to challenge the normality of domestic abuse. This campaign aims to break down those boundaries and stop domestic abuse being a hidden issue in communities, supporting other locally focused work on domestic abuse in St Helens. Domestic abuse is about more than physical violence. For children that witness domestic abuse, the impacts on behaviour and educational achievement as well as physical and mental health are huge in both the long and short- term, increasing the risk of suicide and self-harm.”
Councillor Jeanie Bell, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing said: “Domestic abuse has significant psychological consequences for everyone involved, especially children. More needs to be achieved and we are working in partnership to respond to this need. Creating an environment where domestic abuse is understood better and accepted less will help support our local work and we want to encourage people to pledge their support.”
One in three women and one in six men have suffered domestic abuse, with two women killed every week and two men killed every month in the UK by their partners. About half of violent relationships involve violence by both partners.
Celebrities including DIY SOS and National Lottery presenter Nick Knowles, Superbike World Champion Carl Fogarty, ‘Shameless’ and ‘Cuffs’ star Karen Bryson, Dancing on Ice star Dan Whiston, ‘Benidorm’s’ Crissy Rock, Hannah Hobley and Philip Olivier, and singer Russell Watson have all offered support for the campaign.
As part of the campaign, face to face engagement events will be held across Cheshire, Merseyside and Lancashire.
In St Helens, residents will be able pledge their support, and access information and advice about domestic abuse and the support services available locally at a pop-up stall in the Hardshaw Shopping Centre, on 24 February.
For more information, where the engagement events are being held or to find out how you can pledge your support go to www.lovernotfighter.org.uk.