Council and agencies working together.
Birmingham Community Safety Partnership has launched its winter campaign to raise awareness and help reduce domestic violence and abuse.
The Stand-Up Shout-Out – Domestic Abuse, No Excuse campaign is on-going in Birmingham, but has been re-launched for the winter months. Part of the campaign also includes the First Night Appeal, which aims to raise awareness of the fearful situation that victims of domestic violence and abuse can find themselves in when they decide to leave home.
The decision to leave home is a difficult one and while for most people Christmas and New Year is a time of great joy, it can be difficult for those living in fear of violence or abuse. There will be approximately 125 women and 300 children spending Christmas and New Year in refuge in Birmingham this year.
Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe & Smart City at Birmingham City Council, met with representatives from local refuge organisations and handed over some of the donations received. Cllr McKay said “The response already to this appeal has been overwhelming with generous donations from our staff and members of the public.
“It is important that we do not lose sight that domestic violence and abuse blights our society, with devastating consequences throughout families, schools, workplaces and communities.
“The City Council is committed to protecting and supporting victims of domestic violence and their children, and will continue to work with partners collaboratively across the city to address this issue on all fronts.”
First Night seeks to collect donations of practical items to give to those women and families who will need to leave their homes as a result of domestic violence, and are being supported in the city’s refuges. The campaign also aims to raise awareness about the support available to victims of domestic violence and abuse during the Christmas and New Year period.
There are a range of domestic violence and abuse and sexual violence services available in Birmingham funded and delivered by organisations such as Birmingham City Council and Women’s Aid. These encompass advice and support through to emergency accommodation and refuge.
Maureen Connolly, Chief Executive of Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid said: “Refuge is a vital lifeline for many women and children experiencing domestic and sexual violence, providing safe, emergency accommodation, and practical and emotional support.
“Domestic violence and abuse is never the fault of women and children and yet they are forced to make enormous changes in their lives to achieve safety, and it remains to be the biggest single cause of homelessness in Birmingham. Over the past year, we have supported over 1,300 women and children in our refuges, helping to provide the stepping stone into a life without fear. Christmas is a particularly difficult time and donations to the First Night Appeal make a huge difference to local women and children, many of whom will have left everything behind.”
To find out more about First Night, such as how and where to donate please visit: http://birminghamcsp.org.uk/firstnight/
For information regarding Stand-up Shout-out, please visit: http://birminghamcsp.org.uk/standupshoutoutadvent/
Or for advice and support regarding domestic violence and abuse, please visit:http://www.bswaid.org/ (BSWAID Helpline: 0800 8000028)