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Cumbria Police launch ‘Blow the Whistle on Domestic Abuse’

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Cumbria Police are teaming up with the county’s leading football teams and the Cumberland FA to send a clear message that domestic abuse should never be tolerated.

The campaign, which coincides with this summer’s rescheduled Euro 2020 football tournament, will see police, Carlisle United FC, Barrow AFC, Cumberland FA and support agencies share messages to encourage the public to ‘blow the whistle’ on domestic abuse and report incidents, so that action can be taken to safeguard people at risk of harm.

Football is not a cause of domestic abuse. However, environments involving high emotions and alcohol consumption can sometimes lead to violent or abusive behaviour.

The campaign, which will run on the Constabulary’s website and social media accounts, will raise awareness of domestic abuse, accessing support service for victims and encourage reporting.

To support the campaign, the Constabulary will be running an interactive, domestic abuse awareness, information session on their Twitter account from 11am to 3:30pm on 11th June. Practitioners, who work to support those affected by domestic abuse, will be on hand to provide awareness and support information and to answer questions from the public.

The vital services provided by Turning the Spotlight will also be showcased during the campaign. Initiated by Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, this service positively and constructively aims to address the behaviour of those causing harm in a relationship.

Turning the Spotlight, provided by the organisation, Victim Support, supports couples and families where low-level conflict or abuse has been identified, they also work with individuals who have caused or are at risk at causing harm.

Through one-on-one support, the programme helps clients understand what a healthy relationship is, how to maintain a healthy relationship and helps families address and reflect on any issues and develop positive relationship changing skills.

Detective Inspector Fae Dilks, a Constabulary Lead for domestic abuse, said: “We want everyone to enjoy their summer responsibly. Celebration, inflamed passion, and excess alcohol are no excuse for domestic abuse.

“Relationships should be loving and supportive, never violent. The outcome of a football match should not result in criminal behaviour or actions that harm another person.

“Importantly, if you are a victim of domestic abuse please come forward and report it to police. We can help you and we work with trusted partner agencies to provide the support you require.

“If you are offending, or feel you are at risk of doing so, please contact Victim Support now. Do the right thing. They can help you to access the help and support you need to change your behaviour.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall said: “It’s great to be passionate in life, but when that passion turns violent or abusive then it simply isn’t tolerated.

“No one deserves to be abused and mistreated, which is why it is one of my main priorities, as PCC, to provide support to victims who have suffered domestic abuse and sexual violence.

“As well as funding Turning the Spotlight, we fund: the Bridgeway that provides support to those who have been sexually abused; three women’s centres in the North, West and South of the county can provide support and a safe place; and the Birchall Trust and Safety Net that provide therapeutic services to those who have experienced abuse – all these services can be reached through Victim Support.

“I would urge anyone who has experienced domestic abuse or fears they are at risk, to contact the police.

“I know that contacting the police isn’t always an option, if you feel that you are in this position, but need help, please reach out to one of the services mentioned above – you are not alone, please do not suffer in silence.”

“Whist the majority of football within the county is played within a fun, safe and inclusive environment we do unfortunately have reported to us examples of when an individual’s behaviour has been inappropriate and sometimes even abusive.

Cumberland Football Association, Chief Executive, Ben Snowdon said: “The FA’s Respect programme is all around fostering greater mutual respect and reaffirming a number of core values that are crucial for football and the wellbeing of all those involved.  It is footballs response to research that shows that the UK is experiencing increased levels of disrespect with the aim of building a more mutually-respectful society.

“England’s performances in the 2018 World Cup in Russia were said to have provided the Nation with a feel-good factor and we hope that this summer’s Euro’s will be even better.  Everyone should be excited and looking forward to watching some great football.  However, we realise that the likelihood is that this will not be the case for everyone in Cumbria.

“No one deserves to be abused and no one should be made to feel fearful of someone else’s behaviour.

“Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence and sadly, as witnessed in the excellent Ian Wright documentary on the BBC, this often includes children.

“We wish to use the undoubted power of football for good.  The grassroots game wants to assure those who are being, or may witness abuse, that abuse of any kind is not acceptable.  

"Remember you are not alone.  As an organisation we are behind you and are proud to support Cumbria Police and their support agencies in encouraging people to ‘blow the whistle’ on domestic abuse.”

Carlisle United’s Chairman, Andrew Jenkins said: “We have worked closely with Cumbria Police on helping to raise awareness about domestic abuse for a number of years now, and we are proud to be able to do so again.

“Instances of domestic abuse can increase where emotions are high, including during major sporting tournaments. Therefore, we share the message that, we want people to enjoy themselves responsibly during Euro 2020 and throughout the summer.

“We thank everyone at Cumbria Police for the important work they are doing, and we urge anyone who feels at risk to contact Victim Support as soon as they possibly can.”

Barrow Chief Executive, Levi Gill said: “Barrow AFC is proud to be part of the campaign this summer to make sure the message that domestic violence should never be tolerated is spread far and wide.

“We all know passions run high at times, during big games or where alcohol is concerned, but we want to see people celebrating in victory and consoling each other in defeat.”

Domestic abuse comes in many forms and does not have to be physical violence, it can include psychological abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, emotional abuse and / or coercive and controlling behaviour.

To find out more about domestic abuse and accessing support service visit: www.cumbria.police.uk/summer

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