Domestic abuse campaign launches across Cheshire, opening the door on unhealthy relationships

18 September 2018

A new campaign to help bring domestic abuse out from behind closed doors is launching this week across Cheshire, Halton and Warrington. 

‘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 in the Cheshire West and Chester Council Youth Zone at Oasis Community Centre in Ellesmere Port are helping to launch the campaign in west Cheshire. They have taken part in activities to help raise their awareness of domestic abuse and in particular teenage relationship abuse. 

Cheshire West and Chester Councillor Louise Gittins, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing, said: “Last year Cheshire Constabulary recorded 2,887 domestic abuse crimes. 833 were with injury. Locally in west Cheshire our Domestic Abuse Intervention and Prevention Service receives 140 referrals a month, a figure that continues to grow. 

“We know domestic violence and abuse can and does have a devastating and lasting impact on victims, their children, their families and the communities where they live and we have long recognised the importance of developing services to support those experiencing domestic and violence abuse. We are fully supportive of the Open the Door campaign.” 

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 we are 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: “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 this new initiative, and came along to Oasis Community Centre to talk our young people about their attitudes and behaviour towards domestic abuse. 

Commissioner David Keane 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 speaking 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 per cent 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. You can get help and advice and access self-support services at openthedoorcheshire.org.uk or call 0300 123 7047, option 2.
 

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