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Put yourself in the shoes of those who are suffering from domestic abuse

Bridgend County Borough Council is supporting the global White Ribbon campaign by inviting local residents to put themselves in the shoes of anyone who may be suffering from domestic abuse.

As the saying goes, you can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes, so the council is joining other organisations across the world to show support for the campaign which aims to eradicate all forms of domestic abuse.

The campaign focuses on ending violence against women – and councillors this week came together to be photographed with dozens of women’s shoes to stress this point – but men can be victims too.

Councillor Ceri Reeves, Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “We are proud to support the annual White Ribbon campaign, and help to raise awareness of an issue that affects many in our communities. As a council, we are keen to be at the forefront of efforts to ensure that people don’t need to suffer in silence. I would urge anyone who is affected by domestic abuse to speak to someone who can provide essential support.”

Last year, Bridgend County Borough Council, working in partnership with other organisations including Calan DVS, South Wales Police, Probation Service, and Victim Support, created a one-stop-shop at the Civic Offices in Bridgend to support residents who are experiencing domestic abuse as well anyone who is concerned for the wellbeing of a friend or family member.

Since October 2015 the Domestic Abuse Support and Information service has provided confidential advice and support to nearly 500 local people on issues ranging from physical, psychological, sexual, emotional and financial abuse, safety planning for victims and their children, and more.

To access the service, and speak to someone in confidence, please ask at the Civic Offices reception desk for the ‘Assia Suite’, which has been named in honour of Assia Newton, from Pencoed, who was tragically murdered in her home after decades of domestic abuse.

Councillor Marlene Thomas, the council’s Domestic Abuse Champion said: “Nobody should live in fear, and it is also important to remember that emotional abuse is as damaging as physical abuse.

“It is not only women who are victims of domestic abuse, but statistics do show that women are disproportionately affected, so it is absolutely vital that we continue to create a culture where violence, abuse and harassment against women and girls is seen as being completely unacceptable.

“We must all work together to end violence against women and, as always, I am keen to do all that I can to encourage others to speak out.”

To access the Domestic Abuse Support and Information service, please ask for the ‘Assia Suite’ at the Civic Offices in Bridgend, or call 01656 815919. Alternatively, you can email the team at assia@calandvs.org.uk. To find out more about the White Ribbon Campaign, visit www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk.

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