2012 looks set to be a legendary summer of sport!
As fans of the beautiful game wait to see who lifts the UEFA Euro 2012 trophy, racquet addicts watch in anticipation to see if the reigning champions successfully defend their Wimbledon titles. Meanwhile, the London 2012 Olympics is sure to keep us glued to our sets as we cheer Team GB on.
But whilst sport can bring communities together, it can also generate passionate rivalry and worse, adrenalin-fuelled violence. Adding alcohol into the mix makes for an even more potent combination.
And sadly, it’s a cocktail which is often associated with a sharp increase in incidents of domestic abuse.
That’s why community safety chiefs, charities and third sector organisations across the borough have been busy gearing themselves up to tackle the anticipated rise in hospital admissions, emergency service call-outs and referrals to specialist services.
Greater Manchester Police, Wigan Council and the Primary Care Trust are backing the End The Fear domestic abuse awareness campaign this summer.
Hard-hitting posters will be displayed in hospitals, public buildings, doctors’ surgeries and licensed premises urging domestic abuse victims, their friends and families, as well as those committing abuse, to seek help over the summer.
Chief Superintendent Shaun Donnellan of Greater Manchester Police (Wigan Division) says: “Competitive tension and increased alcohol consumption can provoke abuse and violence within the home. We urge victims, their friends and families not to wait, but to seek help and advice immediately before the abuse escalates.
“Partnership agencies will ensure that specialist domestic abuse services are available to all those regardless of gender, as well as to children and young people.
“Support services are also available for offenders to seek help, but if they choose to become violent or abusive then action will be taken to bring them to justice. Our priority is to protect victims and children.”
Wigan Athletic Football Club also supports the campaign. Players from the Premiership club recently met with members of Wigan Athletic Ladies Football Club, adding their own endorsement to the campaign.
Local teacher, Rachael Taylor has played for Wigan Athletics Ladies FC for twelve years. She says: "There are too many examples of young girls being subjected to some form of domestic abuse in their relationships, and it's not acceptable. There is help available, confidential advice and practical support, so don't be afraid or ashamed to ask. There is hope, and life really can change for the better."
Cllr Kevin Anderson, cabinet portfolio holder for safer neighbourhoods, adds:
"By supporting this campaign, we are sending a clear message to perpetrators that domestic abuse is not acceptable under any circumstances. There are no excuses. Offenders will be held accountable for their actions and made to face the consequences.
"We also hope the campaign reminds victims that they are not alone. There are local services which offer compassionate, practical and confidential advice designed to help them find courage, move forward and rebuild their life. Please don’t suffer in silence."
For more information about services available to help stop domestic abuse, call 0161 636 7525 or visit the End The Fear website (external link)