THE parents of a tragic domestic violence victim have delivered a poignant address to youngsters.
Speaking of their daughter, Carly Fairhurst, who was killed by her boyfriend Darren Pilkington in 2006, Trevor and Sheila Fairhurst appeared in front of 80 teenagers at Wigan Youth Zone to share their story in the hope of educating others.
It was part of an event aimed at raising awareness of abuse and sexual exploitation.
Trevor said: “Domestic abuse is not just about hurting someone physically; it could be about calling someone names or calling their appearance.
“Carly swore her friends to secrecy.
“Her friends never told anyone and we only found out she was a victim of domestic abuse on the day we buried her.
“It can happen to anyone of any age, religion or sex but domestic violence is never okay. It is not your fault and you do not have to deal with it alone.
“I cannot emphasise enough that if you suspect anyone is suffering from abuse, this is what can happen. Carly suffered in silence - don’t you do the same.”
The day, entitled The More You Know the More You See, put across the facts about the sexual exploitation and domestic abuse.
Young people discussed the dangers of drugs and alcohol and how lowered inhibitions could put you in vulnerable situations.
They also received guidance on how photos and information innocently shared on social media sites can quickly end up in the wrong hands or spread quickly across the internet.
Sarah Halsall, senior practitioner for the Gateway Boroughwide Vulnerable Team, said: “There has been some incredibly useful and hard-hitting information delivered to the young people and staff today.
“Sexual exploitation and domestic abuse are sometimes subjects that we assume won’t touch our lives, but sometimes the signs of an unhealthy relationship are there and we might just need a push to recognise them.
“Today was about empowerment, education and knowledge so that young people won’t find themselves in vulnerable situations that could ultimately comprise their safety.
“It’s not been easy day and some of the information has been difficult to listen to, but we are extremely grateful to everyone who came to speak, share information and learn.”
Pupils from Westleigh and Hawkley Hall High School’s performed pieces they had written to show the tell-tale signs of abusive and controlling relationships.
Organiser Jake Ashall, Wigan Children’s Safeguarding Board Apprentice, said: “Sexual exploitation and domestic violence are sometimes subjects that we assume won’t touch our lives, but sometimes the signs of an unhealthy relationship are there and we might just need a push to recognise this.”