Posted on Tuesday 18th September

Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane is spearheading a new initiative across Cheshire that changes attitudes and behaviour associated with domestic abuse.

The Open the Door campaign aims to bring domestic abuse out into the open by starting a conversation and removing the stigma of it being a hidden issue.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), Cheshire Constabulary and partner agencies comprising the Unitary Authorities of Cheshire East, Cheshire West & Chester, Halton and Warrington, along with Public Health England, are represented on the strategic board.

It is the first time that police and all four local authorities have joined forces to provide information for access to officers, staff and residents about what help and support is available to them.

Commissioner David Keane said: “Cheshire’s Open the Door campaign will be promoting self-help and early intervention for people who are experiencing domestic abuse.

"It will encourage residents to recognise the signs of domestic abuse and be confident in speaking openly about it in order to get help either for themselves or to help someone who is in an abusive relationship.

“It is very often family members or close friends who can see when a relationship is not healthy, or doesn’t seem quite right so this campaign is encouraging friends and family to understand how to spot abuse and then to have the confidence to have the right conversation to support someone they are worried about.

"Encouragingly, research carried out reveals that, once support has been received, 80 per cent of people felt safer.”

Acting chief constable, Janette McCormick, added: “Domestic abuse is, sadly, common. It has a higher rate of victimisation than any other crime and police in the UK receive a domestic abuse assistance call every minute, yet only 35 per cent of incidents are reported to the police.

“We would strongly encourage people to report this type of crime. Our officers investigate all reports of domestic abuse; we have a dedicated team who will provide support to victims throughout the criminal justice system.

"They will be able to signpost people to dedicated services through our partner agencies within the local community. Domestic abuse is a crime so Open the Door and help give people the courage to speak up if they have concerns.”

The campaign aims to equip people with the tools to feel safe and confident in having a conversation about domestic abuse – whether it's their situation or someone else they are worried about.

The partnership is seeking to challenge attitudes and behaviour and encourage early intervention by providing information for victims, friends and family on where they can access self-support services.

Further details can be found on the dedicated website