Victims of domestic violence have shared their stories with the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Tony Lloyd visited Stockport Without Abuse, a charity which offers help and support to men, women and children affected by domestic abuse.
Established for 37 years, the charity helped 1,400 victims of domestic violence across the borough last year, including 200 male victims and 200 children who had witnessed domestic abuse. They provide refuge accommodation, run a helpline and do outreach work with victims.
Three women, who have escaped abusive relationships, shared their experiences with Tony and how Stockport Without Abuse has helped them to rebuild their lives.
“If it wasn’t for the help and support of Stockport Without Abuse, providing refuge accommodation and helping me find a new home for me and daughter, I don’t know where I would be today,” said one lady. “A year ago I was too afraid to leave the house, now I feel ready to go back to work.”
Tony said: “There are too many victims of domestic violence suffering in silence, not knowing who to turn to. We need to raise awareness of the help and support that’s available to victims, and give them the confidence to come forward and break the cycle of abuse. The ladies I have met today made that very brave step and are now rebuilding their lives. Organisations like Stockport Without Abuse are vital to helping victims on that journey.”
Tony also met staff members, including one of the independent domestic abuse advisors who support victims through the criminal justice process and the pregnancy outreach worker who works with midwives to identify victims of abuse.
The charity has also delivered more than 300 healthy relationship workshops to secondary school pupils across Stockport, highlighting the signs of domestic abuse and how to get help.
“It’s never too early to have the conversation about domestic abuse. We’ve got to get the message across to our young people that this type of behaviour is not acceptable and making them aware of what support and help is available if they find themselves in an abusive relationship.”
Sue Martin, Chief Executive of Stockport Without Abuse, said: “Tony’s visit was valuable to Stockport Without Abuse. It enabled us to share real experiences with him and demonstrate the different services we deliver, from education to crisis support for high risk victims.
“It took a lot for the ladies to bravely tell their stories. But it was important to hear from their own perspective and their own hearts, what a difference the help and support they’ve had has made to their lives.”