Merseyside’s Deputy Police Commissioner is urging victims of domestic abuse not to suffer in silence as she spends the day raising awareness of the support on offer in Merseyside.
Victims’ Champion Cllr Sue Murphy has made the plea ahead of two events at which she will encourage people to talk more openly about domestic abuse and increase knowledge and understanding about the help that is on offer to all those affected.
Sue will start the day in Kirkby Market, where she will join representatives from Knowsley Council to support a new domestic abuse campaign ‘Be a Lover not a Fighter’. The initiative is being run by public health partners across seven local authority areas in Cheshire, Merseyside and Lancashire with the aim of breaking down the silence around domestic abuse and bringing it into the spotlight.
It builds on the work first delivered by the Cheshire and Merseyside Public Health Collaborative (Champs) last year by focusing on the impact of domestic abuse on young people, highlighting the startling fact that 90% of domestic abuse is witnessed by children.
From Kirkby, Sue will head to the Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre on Princes Road in Toxteth, for the launch of Savera UK, a charity that tackles domestic abuse among black and minority ethnic (BME) communities.
The charity, which has been renamed, will be revealing a new website and announcing their new Patron Nazir Afzal OBE, the former Chief Crown Prosecutor for North West England.
Sue said: “It is vitally important that we use every opportunity available to talk about domestic abuse, the damaging effects it has on individuals and whole families and encourage people to speak out if they have been affected.
“As the ‘Be a Lover not a Fighter’ campaign vividly brings to life, a staggering 90% of domestic abuse is witnessed by children and the effects can last a lifetime.
“We need to end the days of domestic abuse being a taboo subject, a hidden issue within our communities, and make sure that victims know there is no need to suffer in silence.
“That’s why I’m delighted to be supporting the launch of the ‘Be a Lover not a Fighter’ campaign in Knowsley and the launch of Savera UK today. These are both great events that are helping to spread this important message to a whole range of communities across Merseyside.”
As part of the PCC’s Victim Care Merseyside service, Jane and Sue have already commissioned a specialist service to support young people affected by domestic abuse to cope and recover.
This service, which is provided by Knowsley-based charity Listening Ear, offers counselling and therapeutic support, workshops on self-esteem and confidence, provides outreach workers and works to raise awareness of health relationships among young people.
Over the last year the Commissioner has also provided more than £200,000 to Merseyside’s five local authorities to enhance the provision of the Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) service for victims of domestic abuse.
Just last week, Merseyside Police was praised in a HMIC Inspection report for the success of Operation Encompass which aims to increase communication between the police and schools to better support young victims.
The PCC-supported initiative means schools are notified within 24 hours if one of their students has witnessed or been present at a domestic incident at home to ensure they get the care and support they need. Partners described the scheme as ‘the best thing the police have given to education’.
For more information on Be a Lover not a Fighter and to find out how you can pledge your support go towww.lovernotfighter.org.uk
For help if you have been a victim of crime anywhere in Merseyside, visit www.victimcaremerseyside.org
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