A giant Valentine’s Card will go on public display in Bolton this Friday to raise awareness of an ongoing Greater Manchester-wide campaign against domestic abuse.
Featuring the poignant message: Love shouldn't hurt, the card will be displayed in the One Stop Shop at Bolton Town Hall, Victoria Square.
It has been signed by representatives from all the agencies whose job it is to tackle the causes and consequences of domestic abuse - including Greater Manchester Police, Bolton Council, Bolton at Home, Bolton Victim Support, and Fortalice Women’s Refuge.
Celebrities including Ann Widdecombe, Zoe Ball, Patsy Kensit and Colin Jackson are also on board and are urging people across Greater Manchester to pledge their support to ending the fear of abuse.
The event is part of the ongoing End The Fear campaign, which highlights the issues around domestic abuse on specific dates in the calendar when increased tensions between partners and families can potentially lead to an increase in the number and severity of attacks.
During the Valentine’s Day period, Greater Manchester Police committed more police officers to attend incidents, and specialist domestic abuse investigators were on hand to provide advice and support to officers.
In addition, officers also attended those households in Bolton most affected by domestic abuse to reassure victims that help is there should they want it. They also conducted bail and curfew checks on and provided information leaflets on support for offenders should they wish to change their behaviour.
Bolton Council’s Executive Member for Cleaner, Greener, Safer, Councillor Sufrana Bashir-Ismail, said: “Domestic abuse comes in many forms and can affect people from all walks of life. However, no-one should have to suffer intimidation, humiliation or violence in their own homes.
“Perpetrators rely on their victims to keep their silence but this latest campaign encourages people to speak out and report incidents of domestic abuse.”
Detective Inspector Rebecca Matthews of Bolton’s Public Protection Investigation Unit added: "We are totally committed to tackling the problem of domestic abuse and my message to victims is that there is help and advice available and, for the sake of you and your children, don’t suffer in silence.
“We have a dedicated Domestic Abuse Unit staffed by specially trained officers who work closely with other agencies to ensure that victims are fully supported.
“We are focusing our efforts on targeting repeat and serial offenders and we want to make it absolutely clear that this type of behaviour is unacceptable and that police and partners will continue to come down hard on those responsible.”