City shows solidarity for UN campaign

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White ribbons and information is given out at the campaign launch, Williamson Square. Pic Benjamin Lynch © JMU Journalism

Liverpool is showing its solidarity with a United Nations campaign that aims to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Monday was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and marked the start of 16 days of activism that will conclude on International Human Rights Day, December 10th.

The campaign was launched at Williamson Square, where members of the city council’s Safer and Stronger Communities team, as well as South Liverpool Domestic Abuse Services, handed out white ribbons to help draw attention to the issue.

Jess Livingstone is a Risk Assessment Coordination Officer for the Safer and Stronger Communities team and is optimistic that the next 16 days will help draw local attention to the matter.

She told JMU Journalism: “All the different agencies are setting up their own events. We as the council are bringing out a strategy to support staff that may be dealing with that sort of thing in their personal lives.”

YouTube: Benjamin Lynch

Ms Livingstone added: “People don’t realise that it goes on in the background and sadly the statistics are rising, but sometimes we see that as a good thing. It means people are willing to report it more.”

The campaign will involve a number of events, including domestic abuse awareness sessions and an exhibition developed by survivors at Liverpool Domestic Abuse Services on Wednesday.

The Cunard Building, Town Hall and Radio City Tower were lit up orange on Monday evening in support.

The Town Hall joins the campaign. Pic Benjamin Lynch © JMU Journalism

Cases of domestic abuse in the region are on the rise and there were over 13,500 calls to Merseyside Police in 2018 alone. Meanwhile, high risk cases increased by 17% from 2017.

Despite this, many cases still go unreported.

Another member of the council’s team, fellow Risk Assessment Officer, Emma Briscoe,  spoke of the difficulties in encouraging people to come forward about domestic abuse.

She said: “We’ve noticed how responses are very varied when you use the ‘d word’. When you say that to people they can either be very supportive and want to talk about it, or they can kind of shrink away from it and not really know how to address it.”

There are a number of Liverpool-based services for those who may want to speak out. For help locally you can visit this website.

About Benjamin Lynch, JMU Journalism