With one in four women experiencing Domestic Abuse at some point in their lives, the Director of Public Prosecutions recently stated that teenage girls are those most at risk from violence. Research undertaken by the NSPCC indicates that many young people remain unaware of the existence of organisations like West Mercia Women’s Aid (WMWA) and are unable to access advice and support if they become victims of domestic abuse.
The WMWA CRUSH Project is an exciting new Lottery funded programme for vulnerable young people aged 13 to 19, which will help them to understand the dynamics of abusive relationships and to work towards developing safe and healthy relationships and useful safety networks. CRUSH programmes will be delivered across West Mercia by WMWA and its partner agencies, with the first programme planned for July 2012. Becky (not her real name), a 15 year-old who attended one of the latest West Mercia Women’s Aid CRUSH pilots, said, “I had no idea who to talk to or where to go for help. I was ashamed and became quite withdrawn. I wish someone had asked me the right questions. I really think young people need lots of support to get out of bad relationships.”
In support of the project, WMWA will join forces with Hereford City Sports this Saturday for the annual Tug Of War event at the Grandstand Road club on Saturday 21st July at 1pm. As well as the Tug of War, local people are invited to enjoy the fabulous free event which will include lots of activities for all of the family, including pony rides, a dog display team and face painting to name a few. Food and drinks will also be sold, and young people can access information from the CRUSH Project and other local organisations.
Later on in the afternoon, The CRUSH Project hosts CRUSH Music. Artists including Red Room Therapy and Jake Gamble (who have both featured on BBC Introducing on in Wales, Hereford & Worcester and on Radio 1), Paper Dreams and George Barnett (who has enjoyed airplay on BBC 6 Music and Radio 1) will join WMWA for fantastic evening of live music. DJs from The Jailhouse in Hereford will also be in support, with more acts to be confirmed.
Entry to the event is free, with other proceeds going towards supporting WMWA and The CRUSH project.
Jan Frances, WMWA CEO, highlights why the project is so vital in the West Mercia region. “For those teenagers who are at risk of being in a relationship that becomes abusive or violent, it is crucial that we offer them support which is preventative and which equips them with the tools to recognise the difference between abusive and healthy relationships. Abuse comes in many forms as well as actual violence, and can include emotional, sexual or financial exploitation. We want young people to know that we are here to offer them support and the skills to help them avoid such relationships in the future”.
“It is very sad that young people often feel that they have no one to turn to”, said Jan, because no one, young or adult, needs to suffer domestic abuse in silence. Our helplines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and run by trained staff who will appropriately advise, support and help our callers whatever their age and circumstances.
We hope that this fantastic event will help raise awareness of the support available to young people, and thank Hereford City Sports for their continued support of our cause.”
WMWA’s 24 hour helpline can be contacted on 0800 783 1359 (Herefordshire and Shropshire) and on 0800 980 3331 (Worcestershire).
For more information about the CRUSH event, please contact Jemma Price, Crush Co-ordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01432 356 146. Referrals can be made by calling 0800 0149084.
You can also follow CRUSH on Twitter at @CrushProject, and visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/crushwmwa.
Circuit Sweet will be exclusively covering the event with a full feature and photography to hit the site shortly. For such a good cause this event is free and is set to unite a community. We urge you to come down and support this event.