People affected by domestic abuse are being reminded that they are not alone during the European Football Championship.
The rise in incidents of domestic abuse during and after football matches is well documented. In 2014 a study found that reported cases of intimate partner violence increased by 38 per cent when England lost and by 26 per cent when they won or drew in the tournament during the World Cup.
Halton Borough Council and Halton Domestic Abuse Service are joining representatives from other domestic abuse agencies across the county to give domestic abuse the red card.
Live web chats hosted by Cheshire Police will take place throughout June to support anyone experiencing domestic abuse.
Anyone with questions or worries is able to join in by submitting their concerns anonymously about their situation. Family members or friends are also able to find out what they should do if they are concerned about loved ones. Representatives are able to answer queries relevant to where people live.
- Wednesday, 16 June, 10am – 11am
- Friday, 18 June, 1pm – 2pm
- Tuesday, 22 June 1pm – 2pm
- Friday, 2 July, 10am- 11am
- Wednesday, 7 July 12noon – 1pm
- Monday, 12 July, 11am – 12noon
People feeling vulnerable while visiting pubs across the borough can also use ‘Ask for Angela’.
The ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign is being backed by a number of organisations and venues across the borough, including Halton Pubwatch, to support anybody out in company who feels unsafe.
The initiative encourages people to discreetly ask for help by going to the bar where they ‘Ask for Angela’ – a phrase that means bar staff will ensure the person gets home safely.
The Open the Door website (www.openthedoorcheshire.org.uk is there to provide support to residents across Cheshire 24/7. The Open the Door campaign, which is supported by Cheshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Cheshire Police, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Warrington councils, 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 also available for local employers to help them recognise if a colleague is in an abusive situation at home.
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
Councillor Martha Lloyd Jones, Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for Community Safety said: “The upcoming European Football Championship will be a great distraction for many people following an incredibly difficult 18 months or so.
“However for domestic abuse victims we know that this may also be an uncertain and incredibly worrying time – particularly if their partner’s behaviour becomes worse when they have been drinking alcohol or if they react badly to their team winning or losing.
“Domestic abuse doesn’t have to stay behind closed doors. Through our Open the Door campaign, we want to make people aware that support is available and ensure people get the help they to bring this hidden crime out into the open.
Please don’t suffer in silence, support is available.”
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 by calling 0300 11 11 247.
If you are in immediate danger or are worried about someone else, always ring 999 in an emergency.