New Wigan domestic abuse group launched
We Hear You is looking to promote a community approach to tackling the problem and help women who have suffered from it.
Founded by Gill Wright and Angela Fell, the organisation will initially focus on the Springfield, Beech Hill and Gidlow areas, though calls and requests from across the borough will be taken.
The two founders are alarmed at how big an issue domestic violence is in Wigan and are determined to tackle stigma around it and get a conversation going about the problem.
They want to explore how communities and neighbourhoods could be used effectively to keep vulnerable women safe and provide opportunities for abuse victims to improve their lives and share experiences of the systems attempting to tackle domestic abuse.
However, Gill and Angela say they have no overarching idea of how We Hear You will work as they want service users to shape what the organisation’does.
Gill said: “I’ve had experience of working around and with people who have suffered domestic violence for the last 15 years and we’ve got a real problem in Wigan.
“The figures don’t seem to change very much and there are a lot of things we think could be done better.
“It still feels a bit hidden. It’s hard to find statistics for what’s going on in the borough or the reality of what life is like for those suffering from it.
“We want to take the stigma away from domestic abuse and start conversations about how we can support each other in local communities.
“While we’re doing that we want to give people a voice to share their experiences within the system or outside of it.”
We Hear You will not be getting involved in ongoing cases where women are suffering domestic abuse or at immediate risk of violence or harm.
Cases of that nature will be signposted to Wigan charity Dias after a link between it and the new group was established.
Instead We Hear You will offer a forum for people who have suffered abuse to say what worked and what didn’t when they approached services for help, in the hope the feedback can improve the situation.
There will also be events for supporting people with similar experiences , with ideas being considered including art sessions, massages and therapies and counselling and mediation.
The project is being supported with funding from Lankelly Chase, with money expected to be used for paying for childcare while women attend online or in-person events.
We Hear You also wants to work with Made by Mortals, a company which produces podcasts on social issues.
Gill said: “We want to create a safe space and we would like it to be a supportive environment.
“A lot of people can feel trapped by domestic abuse. They can’t be honest with services because they fear the consequences. We’re looking at people who have been through it, made a change and now want to share their story.”
We Hear You also wants to bring whole communities into the discussion, pointing out that neighbours might often be the first people to hear or notice something wrong and need to know what they should do.
They say there is also a need to get domestic abuse being talked about more frankly in Wigan. Gill said: “It’s become a normal thing in our country but also one that’s covered up. Until we start to acknowledge it and talk about it things are never going to change.”
To find out more, search for We Hear You on Facebook. Anyone suffering from domestic abuse and needing help can call Dias’ support line on 01942 311365 or visit https://diasdvc.org/
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