Essex students tackle domestic abuse

PUPILS took to the stage to help raise awareness about abuse in the home and how to tackle it.

‘Responding to Domestic Abuse’ was an all day workshop organised by Braintree’s Community Safety Partnership (CSP).

To highlight domestic abuse issues, 20 Year 10 drama students from Rickstones Academy created and performed a short skit about domestic abuse to staff and primary school heads, college and children centre staff from the Braintree district.

The drama, designed with assistance from Essex Police, Safer Places and CARA , was used to guide agencies and individuals at the workshops in better understanding the issues and dealing correctly with disclosures.

District councillor Wendy Schmitt, cabinet member for environment, , said: “I’m so pleased to see all the key agencies working together with young people and representatives from our schools and colleges to find better ways to identify and tackle the problem.

“This is just the first step in making sure anyone in our district affected by domestic abuse can gain the support and advice they need to take action and find a way forward, free from abuse.”

Latest figures from the Whole Essex Community Budget Programme show: one in four women in Essex suffer from domestic abuse in their lifetime; 19 per cent of murders in Essex have domestic abuse incidents preceding them; and 750,000 children a year in the county witness domestic violence.

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Det chief supt Simon Coxall, crime and public protection commander, said: “Domestic abuse is ruinous to families and often it is hidden from the public gaze - a crime committed behind closed doors.

“Children can be every bit as much a victim of the abuse and often reveal in their search for help the first indicators of the hidden problem. Close working with partners forms the bedrock of keeping people safe.”

Organisers hope the workshop will boost understanding of the issue; reassure delegates about how to deal with disclosures; increase opportunities for networking; raise awareness of support available for victims in Braintree area and provide more information on the impact of domestic abuse on children and families.