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Domestic abuse awareness in Manchester schools

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Manchester City Council has agreed a motion to introduce education packs in primary and secondary schools across the city aimed at raising awareness of domestic abuse.

The council meeting also supported the on-going effort to address abuse working with statutory and voluntary sectors on preventative work, interventions and multi-agency assessments for high risk cases.

The information packs have already been taken up by some schools in the city, but now, working with Manchester Domestic Abuse Service Providers Forum, it is hoped all schools can be encouraged to raise awareness on domestic abuse and safeguarding.

Thousands of children will experience domestic abuse first-hand – either as a witness at home or suffering abuse themselves – and it is hoped that by targeting school age young people to raise awareness, help will be available to support more people earlier.

The motion also calls for increased staff training to improve knowledge on physical and mental abuse, forced marriages and female genital mutilation to improve the chance of spotting abuse in young people.

In Greater Manchester alone, 60,400 domestic abuse incidents have been reported in the last year, and abuse affects every community regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or income – with one in four women and one in six men experiencing domestic abuse in their lifetime.

Cllr Azra Ali, Manchester councillor for the Burnage ward, said: “Domestic abuse can make a person’s life a living hell. Abuse does not distinguish between sex and age, and crosses all faith lines and ethnicities.

“Too often abuse is swept under the carpet – or overlooked completely – and this is why we need to act now to raise awareness, promote further education in schools and call for the end of domestic abuse in our homes and communities.”