Council campaign over domestic abuse

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Cllr Janette Williamson showing support for campaign © Wirral Council

Cllr Janette Williamson showing support for campaign © Wirral Council

Wirral Council has joined a campaign against domestic abuse that aims to raise awareness about the problem in the run up to Valentine’s Day.

Domestic abuse is an issue in society that can often stay hidden, as victims can be scared or feel pressured to not speak out about their situation. Wirral Council is attempting to combat this by joining the Be a Lover not a Fighter campaign.

The move is part of a five-year plan that has seen the council take a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach towards domestic abuse. It has worked with a number of groups, including Involve North West and Tomorrow’s Women’s Peer Programme, to tackle the problem.

Councillor Janette Williamson, Wirral’s ‘pledge champion’ for domestic abuse reduction, said: “Wirral’s repeat rate of high risk domestic abuse is well below the national average, and fortunately, people are also now more likely to report abuse, which indicates increased confidence in services.

“However, it is still remains largely a hidden problem, and there is still much work to be done. We know that domestic abuse has a lasting effect on families and particularly on children into later life,  which is why working towards zero tolerance is so important.”

The Be a Lover not a Fighter Initiative is being run by Public Health Partnerships across Merseyside, Cheshire and Lancashire. It aims to raise awareness and create a discussion about domestic violence. It has the backing of celebrities such as DIY SOS and National Lottery presenter Nick Knowles and Wirral native,  five-times World Kickboxing champion Lee Charles.

This new campaign comes after 2015 parliamentary report showed that 750,000 children witness domestic violence at home every year in the UK.

The same report showed that every year one-in-three women and one-in-six men are victims of domestic abuse, with two women a week and two men a month being killed by their partners.

A spokesperson for the campaign, said this is not a fundraising effort, but an attempt to start a discussion about a problem that often goes unnoticed. She is encouraging people to go on social media and join the hashtag #hearthands by posting a picture of yourself making a heart shape with your hands.

She said: “We have put posters up around hospitals, dentists, hairdressers and other places people might feel safe to open about and talk about these issues. There is also information packs available which contain two badges and we hope people will wear one and give the other to a friend or family member, so more people become aware about issue.”

Wirral Council will also be running a public drop-in event on Thursday, 3rd March at Birkenhead’s Pyramid Shopping Centre, where councillors will be available to meet with people and discuss any queries they may have.

Other information is also available at the campaign’s website at, or contact Wirral’s Family Safety Unit on 0151 604 3567 and the Wirral 24 hour helpline on 0151 643 9766.

About Connor Lynch, JMU Journalism