Published Tuesday, 24 November 2020
Coventry City Council and Domestic Abuse Services are marking 16 Days Of Action by raising awareness of the various forms of domestic abuse and support to encourage those affected to seek help.
All victims in Coventry can call the Safe to Talk helpline on 0800 111 4998 for independent and confidential advice and support about domestic abuse or visit the Safe to Talk website for further information.
The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures, whilst challenging for all of us, can pose extra difficulties and risk for those who are living with domestic abuse. Staying indoors is even harder for people whose home is not the haven it should be and enforced isolation may increase abusive behaviour. It reduces victim’s ability to access help and support. Isolation may be used as a tool of coercive and controlling behaviour by perpetrators, as they attempt to shut down victim’s routes to safety and support. We will join global organisations and communities and use the 16 days to come together to raise awareness of the reality of domestic violence and pushes for positive change to increase women’s (and men’s) safety.
Organised by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership, the theme domestic abuse is everybody’s business continues. The movement started in 1991 and since then 167 groups in 187 countries have contributed to promoting and supporting these 16 Days, including Amnesty International and World Health Organisation, as well as far more local, grassroots projects.
On the first day of the campaign (25th November) Coventry Haven, will be co-hosting a one hour drop in event on Zoom with Coventry University Students Union (CUSU) between 10-11am. There will be a keynote speaker Jaime Richards, Development and Funding Officer for Coventry Women’s Aid. The event will also look at what the 16 Days of Action are about, CUSU activities and a survivor’s story.
Domestic abuse provisions in Coventry, includes: Coventry Haven, Valley House, Panahghar and Relate. There is also a programme to jointly support children affected by domestic abuse using a counselling service and their non-abusing parent to help re-establish parental relationships; and an 18-week perpetrator programme, called Choose2Change, to try and stop further abuse in the future. Demand on the Safetotalk helpline has increased with more than 1000 calls received since the start of COVID-19 and police are also reporting demand has increased significantly.
This is all part of a citywide domestic abuse strategy running from 2018 to 2023, which was set out to tackle the on-going crime. This has influenced the way the commissioned services have been brought together, and also focuses on preventing honour-based violence and forced marriage.
Cllr Pervez Akhtar, Deputy Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities, said supporting victims and preventing domestic abuse in all its forms is a priority for the city:
“We are very conscious of the reality of the impact that domestic abuse has on its victims and their families and the 16 Days of Action campaign is a great reminder of the clear strategy in place for Coventry, which aims to improve the response from all agencies to incidents of domestic abuse and remove barriers which prevent some communities from seeking help.
“It is estimated that the annual cost of domestic abuse collectively for Coventry is around £35m. The ongoing pandemic has made already challenging times, extra difficult for those living domestic abuse and we will continue to work with partner agencies to manage and address domestic abuse in a sensitive and supportive way. This includes providing support to those groups currently under-represented and most vulnerable – like older people, men, people from BAME communities and the LGBT community.”
“The Safe to Talk website enables easy access to help and support either as members of the public or professionals who may wish to refer individuals.
“All of us need to be vigilant. We need to help understand domestic abuse in all its forms and support victims to bring these crimes out into the open.”
Elaine Yates, CEO for Coventry Haven Women’s Aid said: “We take the 16 Days of Action campaign very seriously as we’ve been delivering in the city for over 45 years. The Safe to Talk helpline provides advice, support and information to victims, children and perpetrators, with access to multi-lingual specialist workers. This makes it easier for individuals to access the services they need, offering support options in areas that are close to them.
“There is still a lot of work to do around domestic abuse in the city, and our consortia commits to working together in the long term to further develop services that are accessible to all.”
The City Council are keen to keep the message that ‘Domestic Abuse is Everybody’s Business’ at the forefront of conversation. During the 16 days some parts of the city centre, including the Whittle Arch and Broadgate will be lit orange (the colour theme for this year), to mark the campaign, as well as encouraging employers across the city to ask their workforces to wear orange to show support.
Further information about how to access domestic abuse services in Coventry can be found on the Safe to Talk website or Coventry Haven webpages. For victims in need of help, or if you are worried about someone you can call the Safe to Talk helpline: 0800 111 4998.
You can visit the 16 Days of Action website for any further information you would like to know about this campaign.
To attend the Coventry University Zoom event 25 November at 10-11am:
For more information contact Amber Taroni, Case Manager (Tackling Harassment & Hate Incidents)
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: 07974 984436