Businesses and community groups are throwing their weight behind an awareness raising campaign highlighting domestic abuse.
The Gym Group in South Shields is one of a number of businesses - inclusing busines support firm Utilitywise - which is promoting the wearing of white ribbons in support of a pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about the crime.
Staff will be wearing white on Friday and a free self-defence class is being offered to members.
A spokeswoman for the gym said: “We like to support the community and charities any way we can, which is why we are thrilled to be getting involved in White Ribbon Day, and supporting the cause this Friday.
“Domestic violence is unfortunately a very big issue for a lot of women and men and it needs to stop. Raising awareness of the issue and demonstrating to people who are suffering domestic abuse that they have support available to them, is one way we can help with this.”
Yesterday, agencies supporting victims of domestic abuse came together to highlight the services available for those suffering at the hands of a partner or family member.
The event, held at The Word library in South Shields, was opened by Coun Nancy Maxwell who read out poem ‘I got flowers today’ - which is dedicated to domestic abuse victims.
Julie Robinson, service manager for Options at Impact Family Services, said: “When Coun Maxwell read out the poem, it was so moving. The event itself was about raising awareness of domestic abuse and to encourage people not to stay silent about this hidden crime.
“Having all the key agencies in one place also showed the support network we have in place for those seeking help, advice and support,”
She added: “Hopefully, the information people have taken away will help either themselves or someone they know.”
Domestic violence and abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents, controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. This can include psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse.
A Utilitywise spokeswoman said: “As part of our Utilitywise colleagues’ pledge to do 12 acts of kindness this festive period, we want to raise awareness of the important issue of domestic violence.
“We hope to let colleagues know more about the great work Impact are doing, whilst providing information on available support – should they or anyone they know ever need it.”
Utilitywise will also be collecting selection boxes for youngsters the charity works with.
For details on how companies can support the campaign, or advice call 456 7577.