Cheshire East Council and partner agencies hosted a virtual event to tackle domestic abuse, on White Ribbon Day (25 November) the international day for the elimination of violence against women.
The virtual event brought staff from Police, health and the community, voluntary and faith sector together to say ‘no’ to violence against women. Led by the experiences of survivors of domestic abuse and hosted by charities MyCWA and Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre, over 140 attendees were asked to dare to care, challenge and commit to keeping people safe in homes, relationships, and in the community.
Across Cheshire East, partners work together to offer a ‘whole family’ domestic abuse service. The service helps people, including men and boys, who are harmed, along with perpetrators and children and young people who often witness the abuse.
During the event, delegates learnt about the scale of the issue in Cheshire with a report of violence against women and girls, what support is available for men and how their silence can be deafening and the need to educate children from an early age about gender equality.
The webinar also covered how we can better support hidden communities with the view from the Gypsy Roma Traveller community. The Cheshire East Youth Council also shared their campaign to tackle sexual harassment amongst young people.
The event also kickstarted the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence – an annual international campaign that commences on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.
Councillor Kathryn Flavell, lead member for children and families at Cheshire East Council, said: “Domestic abuse remains everyone’s business and it is only by working together that we can hope to develop our understanding, approach and response in a way that increases the safety and life chances of everyone.
“Responding to domestic abuse has always been a priority in Cheshire East, and today’s event demonstrated the strength of commitment across all our partners and the determination to support and change lives. Since the Covid pandemic, with the additional pressures people will have experienced, it is more important than ever.
“Today’s event has been an opportunity to continue to unite against domestic abuse and raise awareness of this in our communities.”
Charmaine Abdul-Karim from Pride of Romani spoke at the event sharing her view on how services can better support the Gypsy Roma Traveller community.
Charmaine said: “I am a proud Romani woman and want to make a better world for my children, so they don’t have to suffer the racism and prejudice I have. Barriers such as fear, a sense of shame and not knowing that there is someone out there to help can prevent people from my community coming forward.
“Using community members like me, who are willing to help and who the Gypsy Roma Traveller community can trust can help to change things for those who are suffering from domestic abuse.”
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 5101. Anyone with any concerns regarding domestic abuse can call 101 and, in an emergency, always ring 999.