The 25th November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

It also marks the first day of the internationally recognised campaign ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.’ This campaign is an organised strategy involving individuals and organisations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

Throughout these difficult times, the WMWA 24/7 Helpline has seen more women coming forward and realising – perhaps for the first time – that they are in an abusive relationship. Since March, daily routines have changed for so many, with more time at home with partners, more uncertainty over jobs and more time to reflect.

WMWA’s CEO Sue Coleman says “Over the past few months, a light has been shone on domestic abuse. We have seen a surge in media coverage and more conversations than ever that focus on violence against women and girls. In these uncertain times, it is vital we keep this conversation going.”

Over the next 16 days West Mercia Women’s Aid will be challenging common misconceptions of what “Love is” – to encourage conversations and to prompt people to reflect on what they consider a healthy relationship to be. Abusive relationships do not all look the same; sometimes they hide in seemingly acceptable behaviours.

West Mercia Women’s Aid will have an active social media presence throughout the campaign, highlighting the unhealthy behaviours that may go unnoticed in relationships, but which can be signs of abuse. It is time to turn the spotlight on these harmful actions and broaden our understanding of abuse to support more women to come forward and end the hurt.
Alongside this campaign, information on how to access confidential help if you are in, or have left, an abusive relationship will be widely shared.

National lockdown has added to the isolation that those in abusive relationships often feel, and at times access to help may seem impossible.

West Mercia Women’s Aid offer services and support to communities and individuals and can be contacted via a 24 hour helpline or online through LiveChat (9am-9pm).