Agencies from across Cheshire East came together at an event recently to hear and learn from those directly affected by domestic abuse.
The event was held to acknowledge White Ribbon Day, which raises awareness of domestic violence across the world.
Across Cheshire East partners work together to offer a ‘whole family’ domestic abuse service, delivered by Cheshire East Council’s specialist domestic abuse teams and the charity MyCWA. This service helps people, including men and boys, who are harmed, along with perpetrators and children and young people who often witness the abuse.
During the event, survivors bravely shared their experiences and explained how they often feel afraid, confused and disbelieved.
Nancy, a survivor, said: “The biggest tool a perpetrator has is silencing us. You need the key to unlocking it. Please don’t assume you know or understand how it feels.
“Not feeling believed or listened to is the biggest weight on a victim’s shoulders and feeling understood will allow us the confidence to speak out.”
Kate Rose, head of safeguarding at Cheshire East Council and chair of the multi-agency Cheshire East Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership, said: “Today we have heard from many survivors of domestic abuse, who have been so brave in standing up and speaking out about their experiences. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone but it’s a massively under-reported crime as it tends to happen behind closed doors.
“This event is an example of how the partnership wants to lead the way by offering a wide range of training for professionals, with the aim of providing support at an earlier stage, before victims reach crisis point.
“When you’re in an abusive relationship, you might not recognise it to begin with. Sometimes those around you, including employers, friends and family are the first to see the warning signs and the impact this may be having.
“What happens behind closed doors doesn’t have to stay there. If you, or someone you know, is in a relationship that doesn’t feel quite right – I urge you to get in touch.”
If you are affected by domestic abuse, or concerned for someone else, call 0300 123 5101 at any time or visit: www.openthedoorcheshire.org.uk. If you need support with a sexual violence incident, call the rape and sexual abuse support centre on 0330 3630063 or visit: www.cheshiresarc.org.uk
In an emergency, always call 999.