White Ribbon Day: Telford & Wrekin's fight against abuse nets thousands of social media hits

A social media campaign set up to raise awareness of domestic violence and its effects on families in Telford & Wrekin has so far attracted 18,000 online hits.

Imogen Gallagher, of Telford, is supporting White Ribbon Day which raises awareness of domestic abuse
Imogen Gallagher, of Telford, is supporting White Ribbon Day which raises awareness of domestic abuse

Today marks White Ribbon Day and the borough's campaign moved to Facebook due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This has resulted in thousands of viewers watching videos, reading victims' stories and getting advice on how get help to get out of an abusive situation.

Support groups have also picked up a number of referrals.

Guest speakers have included 17-year-old Georgia, the daughter of murder victim Cheryl Hooper, who was shot by her estranged husband Andrew in Newport, in January 2018. And support volunteer Imogen Gallagher, who helps out at advice services and community groups across the borough.

Ms Gallagher said: "I've been told that around 18,000 people have looked at it over the past two weeks and as a result the organisers have picked up a number of referrals from people now reporting that they have been suffering domestic abuse.

Bad situation

"I'm stunned that so many vulnerable residents are unaware that there is help available nowadays if you have problems. I'm a domestic abuse survivor from years back and in those days there was nowhere near the level of help that is being provided. I moved seven times with my son when he was young before we were found permanent accommodation in a different area

"Now there is housing and financial support, advice on getting a job, good support for children and even free boxing is offered in Telford.

"A woman who can't see a way out of a bad situation won't leave her home with her children.

"Now we have a great social media platform which is serving us really well during lockdown which is the hardest time for many who are stuck with nowhere to go.

"It is imperative that they know that there is hope and life afterwards if they seek help. In time to come they will look back and see that there was a path through it."

From November 9-25 the White Ribbon Day campaign included various talks and videos from social action advocates, police and other.

Urgency

In addition support for the public awareness has come from High Sheriff of Shropshire Dean Harris who has listed tacking domestic abuse among her good causes for her civic year.

West Mercia’s Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion has also hosted a series of special podcasts to look at the issues across the force area which includes Shropshire, and Telford.

Telford Shopping Centre and Southwater One will show support by illuminating the centre's logo at all entrances with white lights.

Telford Centre's marketing manager Katie Broome said: "Telford Centre are proud to support the White Ribbon campaign. The need to raise awareness to prevent male violence against women has become more urgent now than ever and it is important that we address these issues as a community."

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