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Steve Prescott Bridge to glow orange in support of domestic abuse awareness campaign

Article date - 24 November 2020

The Steve Prescott Bridge will glow orange tomorrow (Wednesday 25 November) in support of a local domestic abuse awareness and training campaign and a major international awareness day.
Orange Bridge rsz.png

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women calls for all countries to ‘Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!’ and will mark the beginning of 16 days of activism that will conclude on 10 December 2020, which is International Human Rights Day – when the Steve Prescott Bridge will be illuminated again. 

Locally, voices are being heard across the borough as part of the Voices Against Domestic Abuse campaign, which began in October – Domestic Abuse Awareness Month – following the successful trial of a package of training around domestic abuse with a cohort of 50 young people aged 16-24 currently engaged with St Helens Chamber. 

The training, which teaches participants about the signs and forms of domestic abuse, and gives people the confidence to respond and start a conversation, is also being rolled out virtually over the next 16 days to the community, voluntary groups and charities, colleges and sixth forms, council staff and other partners to reach as many people as possible. 

Places are almost fully booked already, but more sessions may be planned for the new year. Visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/voices for more information. 

Voices Against Domestic Abuse follows campaign work across the Liverpool City Region earlier this year, which highlighted a growing concern both locally and nationally about an increase in domestic abuse during the initial COVID-19 lockdown. 

The UN has called this ‘the shadow pandemic,’ citing emerging data and reports from those on the front lines showing that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified since the outbreak of COVID-19. 

Councillor Jeanie Bell, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said: 

“One of the many heart-breaking things about the coronavirus pandemic is the increased risk and occurrence of domestic abuse during lockdown, often unseen and unheard with many people suffering in silence behind closed doors.  

“At a time when we became more dependent on our homes as safe spaces, for many people their homes are where they experienced abuse. We must speak up now! 

“By encouraging as many residents, businesses and local organisations to join forces and be a voice against domestic abuse and start to openly have the conversation, we can help break down the silence which surrounds the crime.”  

The Safe2speak Domestic Abuse Service is free to any resident of St Helens Borough. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse you can telephone the team for immediate help and support, on 01744 743200. 

There is also a 24-hour helpline – 01925 220 541. 

If you are not able to call the Safe2Speak helpline for whatever reason you can now text 07781472828. You will receive an automated response, which you may wish to delete for your own safety: 'Your concern has been logged and is being processed.' 

Your text will be picked up Monday to Friday 9-5pm and you will be contacted in 24-48 hours – they can respond by text, phone or email, whatever is the safest for you, so make sure you include the relevant information in your text. 

In an emergency, always call 999 and if you are unable to speak, press 55 to confirm an emergency.

For more information and support visit safe2speak.co.uk