A project aiming to tackle domestic abuse launches this week in Wythenshawe.
Wythenshawe Safe Spots is being launched in an attempt to tackle domestic abuse in the area and help victims seek the help and support they need.
Safe spots are places in the community which have staff available who can sign-post victims of abuse towards services that can safely help them out of their situation. Women’s Aid and Independent Choices have supported the project by training volunteers from local businesses in what services are available and how to access them.
The project is led by local women from Wythenshawe, some of whom have themselves experienced domestic abuse. They have used their personal experiences to influence and negotiate with police, partner agencies and local businesses to set up and support the safe spots scheme.
This group of volunteers have come together to try to change attitudes around the abuse and deep seated learned behaviours through generations. It is hoped that having more places to go for advice and help, that there may be a better uptake of services in the area and with that victims will have more chance of escaping their abusers safely.
Inspector Luke Breakspear said: “I was invited to meet with the volunteers and we discussed their views of domestic abuse. It was highlighted that victims wouldn’t want to be seen going in to a police station or other statutory premises, for fear of being further abused by perpetrators or, having decisions made for them, by well-meaning officers or officials.
“By supporting this project I hope that local victims will see that we do want to help them and will do what we can to support them.”
Sarah, one of the volunteers said added: “Being part of safe spots is important for me as I would like to make a change with how the police help with domestic abuse of all kinds for men and women. Working together will help improve people’s situations and views with domestic abuse.”
Heidi, a domestic abuse survivor said: “Being a survivor of domestic abuse makes this project very close to me and I’m out to make a difference and change the way domestic abuse is dealt with.”
Another volunteer said, “Purely being involved in Safe Spots has shown a huge improvement to my situation.”
The businesses that have already signed up to the project include Surestart, Forum Learning, MP’s office, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, Costa, Boots, Co-operative Travel and Barnados.
The inspirational attitude of these women in leading their community to make a change will hopefully encourage victims to come forward to report abuse and seek help.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, report it to police on 101 or contact the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247. Always dial 999 in an emergency.