A CANDLE-LIT vigil is being held at 5pm today in Leigh town centre in recognition of victims of domestic abuse and to demonstrate shared solidarity with them.
The vigil outside Spinning Gate shopping centre is part of a campaign that urges victims of domestic abuse to seek help amid fears that incidents could soar over the festive period.
Partnership agencies across Wigan and Greater Manchester are gearing themselves up for a surge in calls to help lines and services during a time associated with a rise in domestic abuse.
End the Fear is a joint campaign which brings together Greater Manchester Police, the NHS, local authorities and third sector organisations and charities who work with victims, families and perpetrators.
As part of this year’s awareness-raising campaign, Wigan Council will hold candle-lit vigils in Leigh and Wigan town centres.
Today's event will bring together people from all walks of life who want to End the Fear for victims and their children this Christmas.
The vigil will be supported by a hard-hitting poster campaign urging victims to contact services. One poster features four candles with one of the candles snuffed out – a representation of the one in four women who will become a victim of domestic abuse in their lifetime.
Leigh Clr Kevin Anderson, cabinet champion for safer neighbourhoods, said: "Emotions can run high at this time of the year, leading to a pressure cooker atmosphere in some homes. And of course alcohol is a significant factor in many cases of domestic abuse.
"Through our work we will continue to help victims to either leave abusive relationships, live more safely within relationships or support the prosecution and rehabilitation of offenders."
Detective Inspector Michael Montford of Greater Manchester Police Public Protection Division promised: "Officers will attend those households where there is a known history of domestic abuse, to check on the safety and welfare of victims. They will also ensure any bail conditions or curfews are being complied with, and provide information on support for both victims and offenders.”
Dr Kate Ardern, Wigan Borough’s Director of Public Health, said: “In Wigan borough, we have a culture where domestic abuse is often casually dismissed in some communities as ‘something that just happens’ and we need to address this.
“We don’t want to break families up. If you seek help - either as a victim, an offender or a child - agencies across the partnership will do everything they can to support the whole family. We want to halt the abuse and prevent it from passing on through future generations.”
For more information about the services available to help stop domestic abuse, visit www.endthefear.co.uk or call the Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0161 636 7525.