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Cheshire Police to host 90 minute web chat on domestic abuse to mark White Ribbon Day

People affected by domestic abuse are being reminded that they are not alone during the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier in the year, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Domestic Abuse Intervention and Prevention Service joined representatives from other domestic abuse agencies across the county to take part in live web chats hosted by Cheshire Police.

The next live web chat will be a 90 minute session, to mark White Ribbon Day. This will be held on Wednesday, 25 November at 1pm on the Cheshire Police Facebook page.

Anyone with questions or worries can join in by submitting their concerns about their situation anonymously.

Family members or friends are also able to find out what they should do if they are concerned about loved ones. Representatives are able to answer queries relevant to where people live.

Questions in earlier live chats have included how to report domestic abuse, worries about the longer term effects on children, what constitutes controlling and coercive behaviour, BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) concerns and the fear of reprisals if reporting a spouse or partner.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Williams started the web chats during the first UK-wide lockdown. Chris explained: “We held our first live web chat in early May, recognising that there would be an increase in domestic abuse incidents.

“Our partners and officers worked together to answer questions from the public in real time and it was agreed that, due to the number of people who were asking for help and advice, we would continue them weekly. To date we have reached out to over 150,000 users, steering people to the dedicated partnership website www.openthedoorcheshire.org.uk.

“Usually lasting one hour, we have decided to hold a longer event on White Ribbon Day itself with a 90 minute live web chat. We’re also increasing the number of web chats before and after Christmas, as we know there are always people needing help and advice over the festive season.”

Councillor Robert Cernik, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “We have found the previous web chats really useful in supporting local people affected by domestic abuse. In the current situation we are very keen for people to know how and where to access support. You are not alone at this difficult time. If you would want help and advice, we encourage you to get in touch.”

Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane added: “This is an extremely difficult time for anyone who is victim to domestic abuse as they are trapped at home with abusive partners with limited ways to seek support.

“The web chats provide a safe and secure outlet for people to get in touch with police and support services to get vital advice about how to stay safe.

“Domestic abuse doesn’t have to stay behind closed doors. Cheshire’s Open the Door is there to help people get the help they need and to bring this hidden crime out into the open.”

Anyone suffering in silence behind closed doors, or family, friends, neighbours or work colleagues with concerns about someone they know, is urged to take part in the live web chat being held on Wednesday, 25 November at 1pm.

Cheshire’s web chat is a virtual chat during which police, fire and safeguarding experts will work together to answer any questions on the force’s Facebook page. 

Those who would like to submit a question have the option of sending one in advance by emailing: digital.team@cheshire.pnn.police.uk, sending a private message to us during the session if they wish to remain anonymous, or simply posting a question to the Q&A post on the Cheshire Police Facebook page. Steps are taken to ensure anonymity for anyone submitting questions either in advance or during the web chat.

White Ribbon Day is held each year on 25 November and highlights support for those affected by domestic abuse.

For further information on White Ribbon Day:

If you, or someone you know is in a relationship that doesn’t quite feel right, speak to someone about it. You can get help and advice and access self-support services at: openthedoorcheshire.org.uk or call 0300 123 7047, option 2.

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