West Hill pupils get comfortable talking about domestic abuse
Thursday 23rd March 2017 @ 14:06 by Tom Greggan
Education News Stalybridge

Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner and Tony Lloyd joined West Hill students to encourage to get comfortable talking about domestic abuse.

Thirteen schools from across Tameside have joined ‘The Sitting Right With You’ campaign, run by the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office in partnership with local councils.

The campaign features a yellow sofa with challenging messages to get people thinking differently about what domestic abuse is and encouraging victims to seek help.

West Hill was the first school in Tameside to play host to the sofa with students welcoming Mr Lloyd to  Stalybridge last Thursday.

Head teacher Alan Harrison was delighted that his pupils have been asked to get involved with the campaign. “If you look at the most recent studies in Tameside, something like 57 per cent of all domestic abuse cases have involved children at some point,” he said.

“Therefore it is really important that young people understand what domestic violence is. It’s not just about physical violence, but emotional abuse, so in terms of the school we’re very much at the forefront of teaching the boys about domestic abuse, but also trying to get them to speak openly about it.”

Mr Harrison also believes, through education, his pupils will learn that the behaviour is not normal and so it will ultimately prevent them from acting in a similar way in adulthood.

Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd and Cllr Peter Robinson joined pupils at West Hill School in Stalybridge as part of ‘The Sitting Right With You’ campaign.

Mr Lloyd was thrilled that West Hill had got involved. “I think it’s brilliant the school has taken this on board,” he said.

“By educating our children and young people about what domestic abuse is, talking to them about healthy relationships, and encouraging them to get comfortable talking about these difficult issues we can break the cycle of abuse.”

West Hill assistant headteacher Paul Butterworth hopes the sessions will encourage the youngsters to seek advice, should they ever need it. He said: “The key thing is making the boys aware that there is help is in school. If they’ve got an issue they need to know who the people are they can go and talk to.”

Tameside Council Executive Member for Children and Families, Cllr Peter Robinson, who also attended on the day, added: “This is a great opportunity for pupils to share with their parents what they have been learning and to get families to feel comfortable talking about domestic abuse, which all too often is still considered a taboo subject.

“Living in a home where there’s domestic abuse is harmful and can have a serious impact on a child’s behaviour and wellbeing. The effects can last into adulthood, but with the right help and support, most children are able to move on from the effects of witnessing domestic abuse.

“The effects can last into adulthood, but with the right help and support, most children are able to move on from the effects of witnessing domestic abuse.”

By Matt Hewitt