STUDENTS from Bolton St Catherine’s Academy have been taught how to recognise the signs of domestic abuse during a visit from Bolton’s police and crime commissioner.

Tony Lloyd gave a talk to Year 10 students at the Harwood school during a drama session performed by the Odd Theatre Group.

Actors performed a short scene to show how a relationship can be emotionally abusive and also led pupils in a workshop about what such behaviour might mean.

Mr Lloyd spoke to the young people about Claire’s Law — an initiative that allows people who suspect their partner has a violent past to see their criminal record and which will be rolled out nationally following a successful pilot in Greater Manchester — and the importance of understanding and leaving an abusive relationship. He said: “We know that two women die every week and it’s the single biggest cause of violence.

“We also know that around Christmas the number of incidents go up, but the hard fact is that domestic violence takes place every day and every night.

“People can start relationships at a young age, and some of the young people in schools like St Catherine’s can already be in relationships that are abusive. This is about starting that conversation about what domestic violence is at an early stage, and letting young people know that there are people you can talk to and places to go. You don’t need to suffer in silence.”

Pupil Sophie Barclay, aged 15, said the session was a useful insight into how relationships can turn violent.

She added: “I’ve learnt that if it ever does happen to me there’s always people to turn to.

“I think Year 8 pupils should see the play too, because that’s when you actually start thinking about whether you should have a boyfriend or girlfriend.”

Scott Else, aged 14, said the play brought home the reality of domestic abuse.

He added: “It was really helpful. It gives people a better understanding of relationships. In the play the boyfriend was doing all these things but because she loves him she went along with it.”