Ask for Ani domestic abuse campaign launched ahead of Euros

A campaign targeted at kicking domestic abuse out of East Cambridgeshire has been launched ahead of the Euros.

One in four women and one in six men experience domestic abuse.

These numbers can increase dramatically during major football tournaments. During the last European championships in 2020 reported rates of domestic violence increased as much as 38% if a national team lost and 23% when it won or if there was a draw.

To help prevent this, East Cambridgeshire District Council is encouraging anyone who is experiencing domestic violence – whether its football related or not – to Ask for Ani.

Cllr Julia Huffer said: “Approach anyone who works for the council and ask to speak to Ani. We will understand you need help. We can offer you a safe space, help to make essential phone calls and support you with your choices.”

Over the past year the council has been training staff in the Ask for Ani campaign.

Visitors to its office at The Grange can go in and Ask for Ani, which stands for Assistance Needed Immediately. They will be shown into a room where trained staff can offer a safe place, help with making essential phone calls and provide support and assistance.

The campaign is being supported by a leaflet drop to all residents and a social media campaign.

Julia added: “Domestic violence is often the silent crime, which many incidents going un-reported. But it is just that – a crime, and this campaign is all about saying enough is enough and encouraging anyone who experiences domestic abuse to seek help.

“In East Cambridgeshire, as well as providing housing advice, the council also works closely with partners to provide help and support to anyone experiencing domestic abuse.”

Other actions the council has taken to help stamp out domestic abuse include:

  • Helping people leave and find refuge, or stay safely in their own home through its housing advice team drop-in clinics 
  • Signposting to other organisations that can help through its community advice portal
  • Updating its webpages and adding “Hide me” buttons so anyone visiting its website for information can quickly hide their visit from a potential abuser.
  • Training staff in the Ask for Ani campaign.
  • Working with the East Cambridgeshire Community Safety Partnership to raise awareness through community engagement.
  • Working towards becoming DAHA accredited
  • Becoming White Ribbon accredited

If you experience domestic abuse, or if you are a perpetrator of domestic abuse and want to seek help with your behaviour, simply call into our offices and Ask for Ani. You can also speak to any member of staff.

More information about domestic abuse is available on our website (includes ‘Hide Me’ buttons)

 

Case study

Claire (not her real name) had been living with her abusive partner for 25 years when she finally plucked up the courage to speak to a member of the council’s housing team. Here she recounts her feelings at the time and the journey she has since been on.

“I felt at rock bottom when I asked for support from the housing service. I felt listened to and supported from day one.

“Having been in a horrific living situation for 25 years through fear and scared of being judged, this was the first time I ever asked for support and spoke to anyone about my situation.

“The housing officer met me at the council and I was already on guard worrying about someone saying to me “This is your fault and your problem.” If that had happened, I would have returned to the terrible situation I was in and never sought help again.

“But she was fantastic. She listened non-judgmentally and for the first time ever I didn’t feel alone.

“She found me temporary accommodation that day where I stayed for three months. The accommodation was great, and I felt safe which was a great feeling.

“She also called and emailed me regularly to check-in to see how I was doing. She also encouraged me to bid on some social housing accommodation, saying that although there were no guarantees my bid would be successful, I should try any way. Luckily, I was accepted for the house and it is perfect for me. If it wasn’t for her I would have missed out.

“She also put me in touch with a domestic abuse support officer who has also been equally wonderful and supportive.

“I am very grateful for all the help and support I received. I really don’t know where I would be or if I would even still be here. Now, I feel safe, secure, independent and happy.

“I’ve also stopped blaming myself.”

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