Young people are being encouraged to get comfortable talking about domestic abuse as Greater Manchester’s ground-breaking awareness campaign tours schools and youth centres across the city-region.
The ‘Sitting Right With You’ campaign was first launched in October 2016 and features imagery of a yellow sofa accompanied by challenging messages to get people thinking differently about what domestic abuse is and encouraging victims to take that first step and ask for help.
Now, the campaign – and the yellow sofa - is being taken into schools to get young people talking about the issue and what makes a healthy relationship.
Through assemblies and workshops, led by Essential Safeguarding, young people will learn that domestic abuse isn’t only physical violence – it can also be controlling what someone wears, their money, where they go and who they talk to.
Challenging messages, including ‘he doesn’t like me using social media’, ‘she doesn’t like me spending time with my friends anymore’, and ‘I get caught in the middle at home, I wish I could talk to someone’ will also be displayed on posters, digital screens and social media.
Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester Bev Hughes said: “When people think of domestic abuse, they imagine a kick or a punch, but often it’s more complicated than that. The Sitting Right With You campaign has challenged these perceptions, empowering people to take a a hard look at their own or a loved one’s relationship and take that first step to getting help and support.
“Now, by taking the yellow sofa into our schools we can educate our children and young people about what domestic abuse is, talk to them about healthy relationships, and encourage them to get comfortable talking about these difficult issues with their families and their friends.
Detective Superintendent Denise Worth from Greater Manchester Police said: “This campaign is a brilliant opportunity to engage with young people and make them aware about how they can spot the signs of domestic abuse.
“We know that often it will be these youngsters that will witness these types of crimes being committed in their homes which makes it all the more important for us to support them through project such as these.
“Sadly domestic abuse also affects people of all ages which is why we are keen to showcase the support services that are also available to anyone in need.
“Our advice is simple if you, or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse report it to police on 101 or call the Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0161 636 7525. Always dial 999 when there is a threat to life or a crime in progress.”
The campaign launched at Stretford High School on Friday 6 July, before touring schools and youth centres across Greater Manchester throughout the summer.
Stretford High School is proud to be the launch school for Greater Manchester awareness.
Lindsay Brindley, Deputy Head, leads safeguarding at Stretford High: “Our student and their families’ welfare and well-being is of paramount importance to us. We need to create a culture of open and honest debate so that our young people understand the complexities of relationships, including abusive ones, and know how to get help and support when things go wrong.”
Visit www.sittingrightwithyou.co.uk/youngpeople to find out more, or follow the conversation at #SittingRightWithYou
If you or someone you care about has been affected by domestic abuse, contact the Greater Manchester domestic abuse helpline on 0161 636 7525.