Valentine’s Day should be about celebrating the love and affection between a couple. This will not be the case for some men and women living in Cannock Chase District this Valentine’s Day.
For some men and women, this Valentine’s will just be like any other day.
Cannock Chase Council has joined forces with Staffordshire Police and New Era Domestic Abuse Service for Staffordshire to raise awareness of domestic abuse.
Across Cannock Chase District reports of domestic abuse predominantly involve a female victim; however, men can suffer domestic abuse too. Male abuse is extremely under reported.
The campaign named ‘Valentine’s is just another day….’ is part of a wider initiative - It’s Never OK that aims to reduce the number of domestic and sexual violence incidents as well as encouraging victims, both men and women to report their abuse.
The valentine’s campaign will portray images based around love and romantic poetry but with the addition of a shocking twist. This has been portrayed using a blooded red rose with a sinister greeting card.
This year, the campaign will also highlight key messages for young people around dating abuse and focus on the different types of abuse an individual may experience.
Campaign messages will be promoted using online advertising via the Council’s website and social media platforms.
The campaign encourages victims, individuals and families who have concerns to report abuse and get support from New Era’s Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent 24-hour confidential helpline on 0300 303 3778 or access their 24/7 live chat facility at www.new-era.uk
The campaign also encourages perpetrators of domestic abuse to get help from New Era Domestic Abuse Service on 01785 904770, an organisation which offers specialist domestic violence prevention services.
A full list of domestic abuse support services is available to access from the Council’s website.
Councillor Bryan Jones, Neighbourhood Safety & Partnerships Portfolio Leader, said: “Domestic abuse is completely unacceptable at any time of the year, and tackling this issue is one of the top priorities for the Council.
“Abuse is not an accident – it is a pattern of behaviour that is done on purpose and to make the other person feel frightened or bad about themselves. Abuse is when one person controls or dominates another person’s quality of life, through the use of use of fear, humiliation, and verbal or physical assaults. It crosses all racial, age, economic and social lines.
“This campaign sends out an extremely strong message that we need to act now to prevent domestic abuse. Often victims of domestic abuse suffer in silence.
“It’s never ok and there is no excuse that is acceptable. We would encourage any victim to take the first steps to free themselves from abuse by reporting it and seeking help”.
Chantelle Thompson, New Era’s head of service, said: “Unfortunately, Valentine’s Day isn’t a happy time for everyone.
“A victim of domestic abuse can often be showered with gifts by their abusive partner to make them feel pressurised into behaving in a particular way and doing things they don’t want to.
“Far from being an act of love, this kind of coercive and controlling behaviour is a form of domestic abuse.
“Whether you’re the victim of domestic abuse or someone who wants support to change their abusive and controlling behaviour, New Era has specialist teams who can help.”
Inspector Chris Moss, Cannock Neighbourhood Policing Team said “Areas such as domestic abuse, stalking and harassment and rape remain force priorities and we undertake significant work to prevent, protect and bring justice for those affected.
“We hope that victims will have the confidence to come forward, report cases and to know they are going to be supported, taken seriously and the allegations will be investigated.
“Officers work alongside several partnership agencies, including New Era, who offer specialist advice and support to help to all those affected by domestic abuse.
“If you are a victim of domestic abuse, or know someone who is, you can contact the police in a number of ways: You can call 101, report online at our website, or send a direct message on Facebook or Twitter, but in an emergency always dial 999.”
This forms part of the Council’s wider safeguarding campaign. ‘See something, Say something’, which aims to encourage people to report any concerns they may have about an individual or group. It is supported by the Staffordshire Commissioner’s Locality Deal Fund.