In the run up to Valentine’s Day, Liverpool is supporting a new anti domestic abuse campaign being launched across Cheshire and Merseyside.
‘Be a Lover not a Fighter’ is being run by Champs, a collaboration of public health services across the nine local authorities in Cheshire and Merseyside and will see a series of awareness raising initiatives to encourage people to talk about domestic abuse.
The campaign asks the public to pledge their support to help put an end to domestic abuse and aims to raise awareness of the issue by encouraging people to talk about it.
1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have suffered domestic abuse with two women killed every week in the UK by their partners. But it’s not just physical violence; emotional or psychological abuse is less well acknowledged but is also domestic abuse.
As part of the campaign a number of face to face engagement events are set to take place, with two happening within Liverpool and 18 in total.
People are also being encouraged to take part in ‘Heart Hands’ pledging their support for the ‘Be a Lover not a Fighter’ campaign by making a heart shape with their hands, posting a video on social media and nominating their friends to do the same.
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 Sandra Davies, Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, 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 Liverpool.
“We are already working closely with a number of partners from community safety, specialist services and Police on the issue of domestic abuse. 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 Emily Spurrell, Mayoral lead for Community Safety, said: “In Liverpool we have co-ordinated a number of domestic violence homicide reviews and findings show that friends and family who have known about the domestic abuse, have not always felt comfortable raising the issue or confident in reporting it. Anything that makes it easier for people to talk about domestic abuse will be useful in helping to challenge this view.”
Detective Chief Superintendent, Paul Richardson of Merseyside Police, said: “There is a call to the police every 30 seconds across the UK about a domestic abuse incident – and these are just the ones we know about. Home Office statistics show that in 2012/13 there were more than 33,000 incidents of domestic abuse across Merseyside. We welcome this campaign to encourage people to talk about a hidden subject and we hope that it will lead to more people reporting domestic abuse.
Merseyside Police is committed to providing victims with all the support they need and we have specially-trained detectives on hand to listen to you in a caring, compassionate and sensitive way whenever you feel able to talk to us.”
A domestic abuse survivor “Sarah” who did not wish to be identified said: “I welcome the campaign and am looking forward to seeing the heart hand symbol being used as part of it as it shows a much more positive activity for your hands. Domestic abuse affects people of all walks of life, regardless of class, gender and position. The more we can do to spread that message the better.”
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