It’s the peak of summer, the sun’s in the sky, and there are loads of events happening in towns and villages across the county. If you stop by any farmers’ markets or village shows, you might spot Emily, who runs The Willow Project for us at Rural Action Derbyshire.

Set up in early 2020, this vital service delivers free talks and awareness training sessions that help people to identify the signs of domestic abuse, give them the confidence to report it, and challenge attitudes that perpetuate the problem - especially in rural areas. If you see our bright blue stand, why not stop by and find out how you can get involved? 

Domestic abuse is still alarmingly prevalent throughout the country. Every year, 2.4 million adults experience abuse across the UK, according to The Crime Survey for England and Wales.

"In rural areas, this abuse can last 25% longer than in cities, as many victims are isolated and cut off from support services, and are living in "traditional, patriarchal communities that control and subjugate women" - the Rural Services Network 

That’s why the work of The Willow Project is so important. We have delivered training to over 200 people in just over three years. We have established a network of Willow Project Champions, who use their compassion and empathy to raise awareness of issues around domestic abuse in their communities. And through digital channels such as Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, we are reaching new, younger audiences to inform them of support networks available for victims.  

If you’re concerned about the impact of abuse across Derbyshire, please consider signing yourself and your friends or colleagues up to our training sessions. They’re pressure-free, easy to follow, and are delivered by a friendly team. Or, if you see us at an event, you can chat to Emily directly to find out how you can become a Champion, and take steps towards challenging attitudes and making real change. You may not think this is an issue that affects people in your area, but that’s the issue: abuse can happen without those in the community knowing.

This is how you can help to make sure that’s not the case.  

 The Willow Project