Pilot scheme launched to help cut domestic violence rate

Police, council, fire and White Ribbon representatives have pledged to not tolerate domestic violence.
Police, council, fire and White Ribbon representatives have pledged to not tolerate domestic violence.

Hair and beauty businesses have backed a campaign to help victims of domestic abuse.

Salons and hairdressers will be raising awareness of how people can get advice and support, as part of a new pilot scheme launched in Castleford to tackle high levels of domestic violence.

Wakefield Council has partnered with the businesses for the new ‘Here to Help’ campaign, designed to encourage people to report abuse.

And The Express is backing the scheme, which is part of the wider White Ribbon Campaign, an international movement of men working to tackle domestic violence against women.

Coun Richard Forster, Castleford councillor and one of Wakefield’s White Ribbon ambassadors, said he hoped it would highlight that there is help out there for both victims and perpetrators.

He said: “In this area, in the wider Castleford district, we have a got a high incidence of domestic abuse and under reporting.

“It is the under reporting we are concerned about because if we can get people to report it, we can get help to victims and get the perpetrators in to a support programme.

“A lot of perpetrators really want to change but it is how we identify them to get them into support programmes that is the challenge.

“This campaign might just be the little thing that a victim or perpetrator needs to prompt them to make that call and get help.”

The hair and beauty businesses involved will display the White Ribbon symbol on their premises, indicating that they have information about the support on offer in the district.

Coun Forster said: “I’m very pleased that hair and beauty professions are helping us to let those who are experiencing domestic abuse, and their family and friends to know they are not alone and that local help and support is available.”

If successful, the salon scheme could be rolled out across Wakefield.

Coun Maureen Cummings, Chair of the Community Safety Partnership, said: “Domestic abuse is completely unacceptable but victims are often scared to get help, or just don’t know what support is available. That’s why I wholeheartedly support this initiative.”

The initiative is also part of the ‘16 Days of Action’ national campaign, designed to highlight and challenge the statistic that one in four women and one in six men experience abuse at home at some stage of their lives.

During the campaign, a giant door, full of messages about what could be happening behind it, is touring the district’s markets.

People will be encouraged to sign pledges to never commit, condone or remain silent about domestic abuse.

The door will be at Pontefract market on December 7.

The ‘16 Days of Action’ campaign started on November 25, the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women and ends on Human Rights Day on December 10.

It is being backed locally by Wakefield Council, West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The Wakefield District Domestic Abuse Service, is available seven days a week, call 0800 915 1561 or visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/domesticabuse