Domestic abuse: celebs rally to end those living in fear of Valentines Day

Nick Knowles backs 'Be a lover not a fighter campaign'

Shocking statistics revealed as part of a North West campaign being launched ahead of Valentine’s Day shows 90% of domestic abuse is witnessed by children.

Celebrities including DIY SOS and National Lottery presenter Nick Knowles are all backing the ‘Be a Lover not a Fighter campaign’ which launched for the first time last year asking the public to stand up and help put an end to domestic abuse.

The initiative which will be running across areas in Cheshire, Merseyside and Lancashire is asking people to wear the ‘Be a Lover not a Fighter’ badge and offer another to a friend or family member in a bid to encourage people to talk about the problem and know what they should do to help if someone is experiencing domestic abuse.

1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have suffered domestic abuse with two women killed every week and two men killed every month in the UK by their partners.

About half of violent relationships involve violence by both partners and a staggering 90% of domestic abuse is witnessed by children. The short and long term impacts on children are huge, on behaviour and educational achievement as well as physical and mental health, including increasing the risk of suicide and self-harm.

‘Be a Lover not a Fighter’, run by public health partners, will be seen across seven local authorities in Cheshire and Merseyside areas and across Lancashire, building on the work first delivered by the Cheshire and Merseyside Public Health Collaborative (Champs).

Nick Knowles

TV presenter Nick Knowles said: “Look around you, whether you’re on the school run or just out and about. How many of those children are witnessing abuse within their families? How many of them are watching one or both of their parents experiencing domestic abuse? What behavioural lessons are they learning from what they see. This has to stop. Abuse is often repeated generation after generation but you don’t have to repeat what you’ve seen when you were a child. As a parent do you really want your children thinking domestic abuse is normal or acceptable? The ‘Be a Lover not a Fighter’ campaign wants people to get out there and talk about the issue, bring it out into the open so that people feel more comfortable seeking help. Wear the ‘Be a Lover not a Fighter’ badge and give another to a friend. We can all do our bit and shouldn’t ignore the issue.”

Among those also supporting the campaign are Superbike World Champion Carl ‘Foggy’ Fogarty, ‘Shameless’ and ‘Cuffs’ star Karen Bryson, Dancing on Ice’s Dan Whiston, ‘Benidorm’s’ Crissy Rock, Hannah Hobley and Philip Olivier, Broadcaster Pete Price, Everton Football Club’s Ambassadors, Singer Russell Watson and five times World Champion kickboxer and actor Lee Charles.

Matthew Ashton, Chair of Champs and the Director of Public Health spokesperson for the campaign said: “We have to make a stand against domestic abuse to show collectively that it is not acceptable. Nationally 750,000 children a year witness domestic abuse. By wearing the ‘Be a Lover not a Fighter’ badge and pledging support for the campaign we can hopefully make more people understand how domestic abuse has significant psychological consequences for everyone involved. It’s crucial we deliver this campaign to make people aware of the issue, what people are going through and how they can make a difference.”

As part of the discussion, videos of support with the celebrities showing their ‘heart hands’ will be shared on social media for the public to join in with their own and public engagement events where people can talk to experts and pick up a badge will be taking place across areas in Cheshire, Merseyside and Lancashire.

“Joe” is a 16 year old boy who experienced his mother and her partner carry out domestic abuse towards each other as a younger child. He is now in counselling for anger management.

“The worst thing was not knowing when it was going to kick off and what to do when it did. Me and my siblings were just in the middle. It was scary and it’s affected me and how I interact with others. I’ve been disruptive in school, I’ve been excluded and finally now I’m getting some help and I’m learning now what a healthy relationship should be like.”

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.