28 January 2021
Council adopted a notice of motion in the name of the Mayor, Councillor Duncan Kerr which included a letter from the Business Minister Paul Scully MP highlighting an 80% increase in referrals during the pandemic, this was backed-up by research regarding the enormous impact and cost of domestic abuse. Council follow the lead of the Government, the High Sheriff and the Police and Crime Commissioner by recognising the importance of the issue.
Council agreed to become a White Ribbon accredited organisation which can be achieved by providing awareness raising for employees, having a workplace policy to help victims of domestic abuse and to sign up to the pledge to not condone or remain silent about violence to women. This makes Oswestry the first Council in Shropshire to have adopted this pledge. It also agreed to part fund the "Ask Me Scheme" which will be managed in partnership West Mercia Womens Aid. Under this scheme up to 30 local residents will be recruited and supported to become champions who can offer support and advice for victims by forming a network of trusted, informed and local advice. This is a national programme that has already been delivered in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Powys but this is, once again the first time it has been brought to Shropshire. The contribution of £10,000 goes towards a total figure of £21,500 which is needed to establish the Ask Me Scheme, the Council will work with West Mercia Women's Aid to fill the funding gap. If any organisations wish to sponsor the programme or support they are encouraged to contact the Town Clerk.
The Mayor of Oswestry Councillor Duncan Kerr said "I am delighted that Oswestry Town Council has taken the first, of what I hope will be many positive steps to assist the estimated 2,000 victims of domestic abuse in the town. Working with all the agencies who can provide support and assistance to victims is crucial but if we are to eradicate this problem we need to build a society that challenges the attitudes that allows this abuse to continue and the Town Council, along with the Police and Crime Commissioner, Shropshire Council and other agencies can provide the leadership to make this happen. I hope local business will get involve in sponsoring the Ask Me scheme and local residents will consider volunteering to be Ask Me ambassadors by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org".