Tackling domestic abuse was top of the agenda at local MP, David Rutley’s recent meeting with Saskia Lightburn-Ritchie, Chief Executive of Cheshire-based charity My CWA (formerly Cheshire Without Abuse). Due to Coronavirus, domestic abuse and violence cases reached highs and My CWA provided front-line support, advice and shelter for victims and their families.
Over the last two years, increases were seen in both calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, and in the number of domestic abuse cases referred to them. However, with the easing of restrictions, there is still much to do to tackle this issue in our communities and domestic abuse and violence remains an important issue.
My CWA provides a wide range of services for those in abusive relationships, including a 24-hour helpline, which is manned by a specialist domestic abuse worker at all times. Crisis accommodation can also be accessed, with 13 properties available across Cheshire East, including flats and houses. Recovery programmes are at the heart of the support My CWA provides, and these can be accessed by victims, children and young people and for perpetrators. Last year, the charity supported over 2,000 individuals and that is made possible by the committed team made up of 48 staff members and over 100 volunteers.
From Coffee and Chat, every Thursday for survivors of domestic abuse, to supporting children and young adults with trauma recovery and anger management, My CWA offer a whole family support approach. Working closely with Cheshire Police, My CWA has been able to create initiatives, such as ‘Engage’ – a perpetrator-focused intervention programme, which aims to break the cycle of abuse by addressing the lack of support and confidence of professionals to work with perpetrators leading to their continued abuse of current and future adult and child victims.
Speaking after the meeting, David said “My CWA has a transformative approach in tackling domestic abuse. Working with the Police and Crime Commissioner, John Dwyer, and Chief Inspector Matthew Lagar, the charity is focusing on the root causes of domestic abuse to better protect victims and their families. I am very grateful that Saskia and her team are hardworking, dedicated and on hand 24/7 for anyone who needs their support.”