26 November 2019Open the Door aims to bring domestic abuse out from behind closed doors by encouraging people to start a conversation to seek advice and support.
The campaign launched last year across Cheshire, Halton and Warrington. In west Cheshire self-referrals to the Domestic Abuse Intervention and Prevention Service have more than doubled, comparing figures from January to June this year against the same time last year.
Helen Brackenbury, Director of Early Help and Prevention Service, Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “Since launching the campaign we have seen a large increase in the number of people asking for help. However latest figures from the police show 469 domestic abuse crimes reported in west Cheshire during October, and 2,846 reported this year.
“We still have a lot to do to achieve our vision for everyone in west Cheshire to be safe and happy in their home and relationships. We continue to work with our partners to address concerns and this month we are contacting businesses across the borough to ask for their support with the campaign.
“Domestic abuse has no respect for age, sex or sexuality and can affect anyone regardless of where they work or where they are in life.
We know it can and does have a devastating and lasting impact on families and communities. We have long recognised the importance of developing services to support people.”
The Open the Door campaign encourages people experiencing abuse, people with abusive behaviours, friends and family to access information about how to spot the signs of domestic abuse and how to get early help. Information is available for local employers to help them recognise if a colleague is in an abusive situation at home. Links through the Open the Door website offer advice around the things businesses can do to help keep their employees safe.
Many of the initial signs and symptoms of abuse can be tricky to spot from the outside so people are asked to trust their instincts. Some of the signs to look out for are:
- Undermining you, so you lose confidence
- Isolating you from your friends and family
- Making all the decisions in your life, including what you wear, who you talk to and where you go and when
- Making you do things that you don’t want to do
- Controlling your money
- Following you when you go out
- Needing to know where you are at all times
Helen added: “It is very often family members, close friends or colleagues who can see when a relationship is not healthy, or doesn’t seem quite right. This campaign encourages friends and family to understand how to spot abuse and then to have the confidence to have the right conversation to support someone they are worried about.”
If you, or someone you know is in a relationship that doesn’t quite feel right, speak to someone about it. You can get help and advice and access self-support services at: openthedoorcheshire.org.uk or call 0300 123 7047, option 2.