A ground-breaking awareness campaign that encourages young people in Manchester to get comfortable talking about domestic abuse is being taken on a tour of the wider city region.
The Sitting Right With You campaign was first launched in October 2016. The aim – using the visual cue of a yellow sofa with a range of challenging messages – is to get people to think differently about what domestic abuse is. It also seeks to encourage victims to take that first step and ask for help.
Now that yellow sofa – and the campaign – is being taken into schools and youth centres across the Greater Manchester city region, where it will become the focal point to get young people talking about the issue and explore what makes a healthy relationship.
“When people think of domestic abuse, they imagine a kick or a punch, but often it’s more complicated than that,” said Bev Hughes, deputy mayor of Greater Manchester. “The Sitting Right With You campaign has challenged these perceptions, empowering people to take a hard look at their own or a loved one’s relationship and take that first step to getting help and support.
“Now, by taking the yellow sofa into our schools we can educate our children and young people about what domestic abuse is, talk to them about healthy relationships, and encourage them to get comfortable talking about these difficult issues with their families and their friends.”
The campaign tour will seek to explore the message through assemblies and workshops, led by the organisation Essential Safeguarding. Young people will learn that domestic abuse isn’t only physical violence – it can also be controlling what some wears, their money, where they go, and who they talk to.
Challenging messages, including ‘he doesn’t like me using social media’, ‘she doesn’t like me spending time with my friends anymore’, and ‘I get caught in the middle at home, I wish I could talk to someone’ will also be displayed on posters, digital screens and social media.
Detective Superintendent Denise Worth from Greater Manchester Police said: “This campaign is a brilliant opportunity to engage with young people and make them aware about how they can spot the signs of domestic abuse.
“We know that often it will be these youngsters that will witness these types of crimes being committed in their homes which makes it all the more important for us to support them through project such as these.
“Sadly domestic abuse also affects people of all ages which is why we are keen to showcase the support services that are also available to anyone in need.”
“Our advice is simple if you, or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse report it to police on 101 or call the Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0161 636 7525. Always dial 999 when there is a threat to life or a crime in progress.”
The campaign got underway at Stretford High School earlier in July, before embarking on a tour schools and youth centres across Greater Manchester throughout the summer.
Stretford High School is proud to be the launch school for Greater Manchester awareness.
Visit www.sittingrightwithyou.co.uk/youngpeople to find out more.