Domestic Abuse Guardians for town centre’s night life

One Maidstone is assisting Kent Police in rolling out a scheme to train Domestic Abuse Guardians for Maidstone’s night-time economy.

Domestic Abuse awareness training took place at the One Maidstone offices on January 21st, offered by One Maidstone to local door staff, pub and club employees and venue managers / owners.

The free sessions, featuring talks from representatives of the National Centre for Domestic Violence and Kent Police, provide information on how to spot the signs of abuse, how to best speak with those dealing with its effects, and signposting the relevant services and help.

The aim of the training scheme is for venues to then nominate Domestic Abuse Guardians, whom members of the public will be able to approach should they need assistance on an evening out, or who can recognise the signs of abuse or deal with sensitive incidents. The project will then roll out across other town centre businesses, ensuring that retail and daytime economy workers can add to the network of Guardians.

One Maidstone’s BID Manager Ilsa Butler says of the initiative, ‘We’re very pleased to be hosting domestic abuse awareness training in partnership with Kent Police. Door and bar staff are well placed to witness and intercept domestic disputes, which can unfortunately occur, escalate or begin on evenings out – or to recognise the signs of ongoing abuse, offer support and information, or refer cases as appropriate. We aim to promote this scheme so that bar and club customers know that Guardians are available to approach throughout the town centre as a point of safety, and a discreet way of accessing the services that are available.’

Inspector Mark Hedges of the Maidstone Community Safety Unit said, ‘Increasing awareness and support around domestic violence is a key priority, and via our close links with partner organisations such as One Maidstone, we can roll out this informative training to those who are in a position to offer help at times of vulnerability. Maidstone has a thriving night time economy, and when bar and club staff are trained to recognise key signs and have the knowledge to help and make relevant referrals, this will create a network of Guardians in place to help residents and visitors who may be experiencing these issues, whom the public know they can approach and trust.’

One Maidstone’s BID Ambassadors, who patrol the town centre during both day and evening, supporting the Police with acts of anti-social behaviour, will also be taking the training, and are proud to be fulfilling the role of DA Guardian.

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