Take that first step to getting help and support – that’s the empowering plea to Greater Manchester residents experiencing domestic abuse.
The pressure of Christmas and New Year can lead to an increase in domestic abuse incidents, with many people suffering in silence as they try to get through the festive season as best they can.
Now, through Greater Manchester’s ground-breaking campaign which uses imagery of a yellow sofa to challenge perceptions of domestic abuse, people are being encouraged to take that first step and ask for help.
Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes said: “We often think of a new year as an opportunity for new beginnings so there is no better time to take that first step to speak out and get help to break the cycle of abuse. My message to anyone who is suffering abuse is: you are not alone, we are sitting right with you. There is support available, whether you want to involve the police or not.”
One in three women and one in six men experience some form of domestic abuse, but it isn’t only physical violence. Controlling what someone wears, their money, where they go, who they talk to is just as damaging and is abuse.
The Sitting Right With You campaign encourages people to think and look differently about what makes a healthy relationship, using powerful messages such as ‘he checks my phone all the time’, ‘she has control over my bank accounts’, and ‘I can go out with friends when he says it’s ok’.
Bev added: “Now is a good time to take a hard look at your own, or a loved one’s relationship. Does your partner control your money, isolate you from family, belittle you in front of friends? These are signs of an unhealthy relationship and early help is available to stop things escalating to tragic consequences.”
Detective Superintendent Denise Worth from Greater Manchester Police said: “Domestic abuse is a priority for us all year round but unfortunately, we do see an increase in incidents following the festive period. Heightened family tensions, financial worries and excessive drinking can lead to a rise in the number of attacks.
“But there is a way out and I would urge victims to seek help and put an end to the misery. We have specially trained officers who can and will offer victims and perpetrators the help and support they require.”
Joanne Simpson, Manager of Independent Choices, said: “Independent Choices offers a free confidential advice service for anyone in Greater Manchester concerned about domestic abuse. This could be advice for yourself on options or if you are concerned about a friend or loved one. Please don’t suffer in silence. There is help out there that can help to end the abuse.”
Follow the conversation at #SittingRightWithYou or visit www.sittingrightwithyou.co.uk to find out more.
If you or someone you care about has been affected by domestic abuse, contact the Greater Manchester domestic abuse helpline on 0161 636 7525.