WOMEN in Tameside are standing shoulder to shoulder to empower others to seek help for domestic abuse.
They staged a power walk at Hyde Fire Station to mark the launch of the ‘Take Control’ campaign which aims to raise awareness and encourage other women to seek help for domestic abuse.
Tameside Council and partner Jigsaw – which provides the Bridges domestic abuse support service – has worked with Diversity Matters North West and women from the local south Asian community to develop a campaign to raise awareness of what domestic abuse is and the help and support that is available.
The ‘Take Control’ campaign aims to highlight that behaviours such as controlling someone’s money, where they go, what they wear or who they see is illegal and give women experiencing this abuse the confidence and information they need to take control themselves and get help.
There is also an ongoing 24-hour helpline on 0800 328 0967 for advice, support and emergency refuge placements for all genders. In an emergency you should always call 999.
Women and representatives of organisations involved in developing the messages took part in a ‘power walk to launch the campaign and help raise awareness.
Some of those taking part remained anonymous to highlight that women can seek help while also protecting their identities.
The campaign will be taken right into the heart of target communities with outreach sessions in schools for parents as well as posters, roadside banners and adverts on buses, billboards and bus stops.
Tameside Council executive member Cllr Allison Gwynne, who is responsible for community safety, said: “One in three women and one in six men experience domestic abuse at some point.
“We know domestic abuse is under-reported on every level – gender, age, ethnicity and sexuality – but our data shows that an even smaller proportion of referrals for help come from the local South Asian community.
“We also understand, from our work with relevant community groups and charities, that south Asian women who are abused are less likely to report it.
“This can be for many reasons such as fear, shame, culture, family pressure and lack of understanding that domestic abuse is illegal in the UK.
“We want to ensure we reach out to all our communities to ensure they are aware of support services available.
“We’ve run several previous domestic abuse awareness campaigns – our most recent one targeting male victims – but this time we want to particularly reach this group of local women to ensure they too know how they can get help.”
Cllr Shibley Alam, ward councillor for Hyde Werneth and one of the areas targeted with the campaign, said: “We want women to understand that some of the controlling behaviours they may be subjected to are illegal and for them to feel empowered and confident enough to seek help, advice and support.”