New bids to tackle domestic violence

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VICTIMS of domestic abuse in Wigan are being urged to seek help this Christmas amid fears that incidents could soar over the festive period.

End the Fear is a joint campaign which brings together police, the NHS, local authorities across Greater Manchester and many organisations and charities which work with victims, families and perpetrators.

As part of this year’s awareness-raising campaign, Wigan Council is holding a candle-lit vigil in both Leigh and Wigan town centres, on Thursday, December 6, at 5pm, in recognition of victims of domestic abuse and to demonstrate our shared solidarity with them.

The vigil will be supported by a hard-hitting poster campaign urging victims to contact services.

One poster features four candles with one of the candles snuffed out – a representation of the one in four women who will become a victim of domestic abuse in their lifetime.

The vigil is being held during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, an international campaign which runs from Sunday, November 25, (International Day Against Violence Against Women), to Monday, December 10.

The multi-agency Domestic Abuse team will ensure police officers are available to attend incidents over Christmas and New Year, bolstering efforts around enforcement and making referrals to ensure victims and families are safe.

A specialist domestic violence officer will be working alongside officers and other partners to provide advice and support and to ensure efficient sharing of information between agencies, for instance with council Child Protection officers and Accident and Emergency.

Coun Kevin Anderson, cabinet champion for safer neighbourhoods, said: “Emotions can run high at this time of the year, leading to a pressure cooker atmosphere in some homes. And of course alcohol is a significant factor in many cases of domestic abuse.

“In the Wigan borough, we work in partnership to ensure that all agencies are doing as much as possible to protect victims and families who are at highest risk. Through our work we will continue to help victims to either leave abusive relationships, live more safely within relationships or support the prosecution and rehabilitation of offenders.”

Detect Insp Michael Montford, of Greater Manchester Police Public Protection Division, added: “There are now five full-time independent domestic abuse advocates who provide support to victims, as well as a specialist domestic abuse court which can fast-track cases.

“Officers will attend those households where there is a known history of domestic abuse, to check on the safety and welfare of victims. They will also ensure any bail conditions or curfews are being complied with, and provide information on support for both victims and offenders.”

For more information about the services available to help stop domestic abuse, visit www.endthefear.co.uk or call the Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0161 636 7525.

Those responsible for abuse can also get help by contacting the Respect Phoneline on 0845 122 8609.