Eighty people pledged their support for a campaign against domestic violence at an event in Cheshire East yesterday (Monday, February 16).
The ‘Be a Lover not a Fighter Campaign’ set up a stand to bring the message to shoppers at the Grosvenor Centre in Macclesfield.
The campaign, launched on the eve of St Valentine’s Day, has engaged with more than 10,000 people throughout Cheshire and Merseyside via social media and the website www.lovernotfighter.org.uk.
Here are some comments from the public at yesterday’s event:
- “My wife used to leave me all weekend to look after the children with very little money while she went out gambling. It was financial abuse. Not enough is known about men. She's divorcing me now.”
- “I saw this on Facebook. I was a victim of several types of abuse including psychological abuse. I have consciously chosen not to become an abuser.”
- “My sister went to a hostel because her husband was abusing her. I think the campaign will help people to talk about it more. She's now got a divorce and set up a home but she hasn't remarried.”
- “My friend used to man a hotline from home that helped women being abused. The calls I heard her take were heartbreaking so anything I can do to support is good.”
A similar event will be held at Crewe Market on Wednesday, February 25.
A number of celebrities have already pledged their support by video to the campaign including award winning actress Crissy Rock from hit TV series Benidorm, Shameless actress Karen Bryson and singer Marcus Collins.
Dr Heather Grimbaldeston, Director of Public Health for Cheshire East, said: “Even in the 21st century, domestic abuse is a taboo subject. This campaign aims to breakdown those boundaries and stop domestic abuse being a hidden issue in communities, supporting other locally focused work on domestic abuse in Cheshire East.
“We are already working closely with a number of partners from community safety, specialist services and Police on the issue of domestic abuse through Cheshire East Domestic Abuse Partnership.
“But there is a lack of understanding about the definition of domestic abuse and that it is more than physical violence. Creating the 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 to end domestic abuse, talk about the issue and join in and make a ‘heart hands’ video for social media.”
Councillor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East Council’s cabinet member for care and health in the community, said: “More needs to be known about the types of domestic abuse out there and how people can get help by contacting the local Domestic Abuse Hub on 0300 123 5101.
“Our Partnership is responding to the need for good services and support in Cheshire East, but anything that raises awareness about what domestic abuse is so people can understand the issue and how it can be handled is helpful.”
Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cheshire East’s Cabinet member for safeguarding children and adults, said: “Getting people talking about the issue more openly will support our local work and help make communities safer. We particularly encourage anyone who is concerned about themselves or someone they know to contact the Hub number during office hours or weekend mornings. There is help and support for all – victims, perpetrators and children.”
Detective Superintendent Nigel Wenham, Public Protection Lead for Cheshire Police said: "There is a call to police every 30 seconds across the UK regarding a domestic abuse incident - and these are just the ones we know about.
“Over 4,500 Domestic Abuse Incidents were reported across Cheshire in 2013/14. We welcome this campaign to encourage people to talk about what is hidden abuse and we hope that it will lead to more people reporting domestic abuse and see those behind it held responsible"
For more information about the campaign, where the engagement events are being held or to find out how you can pledge your support go to www.lovernotfighter.org.uk.