Is it Love, Actually…? – A Staffordshire Domestic Abuse Asks This Christmas

Friday, 18th December 2020

THE ‘New Era Domestic Abuse Service for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent’ puts local actors centre stage in a campaign to raise awareness of the support available to Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent residents

The Staffordshire domestic abuse service is recreating an iconic Christmas movie scene to help raise awareness of the support and services available at what is traditionally a testing time for many relationships.

New Era domestic abuse service for Tamworth, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent has come up with its own version of the famous doorstep scene from ‘Love Actually’, under the adapted title, ‘Is it Love, Actually…?’.

Through a series of large, tailored cue cards, New Era wants to highlight the extra pressure put on relationships during the festive season, but also how the COVID-19 pandemic has brought added stress for many people, as a result of the lockdowns and social distancing measures.

New Era has enlisted the support of a Staffordshire dramatic group after the curtain came down on its normal seasonal work schedule, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lichfield-based Toffee Hammer Studio worked with New Era to make two versions of the famous scene to raise awareness of the support available – not just to victims of domestic abuse and their families, but also to anyone wanting support to change their abusive behaviour.

The videos can be found below.

Film 1 – Awareness for domestic abuse survivors

Chantelle Thompson, head of service at New Era, said: “We know from the work we do supporting victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse, that, sadly, Christmas isn’t always a happy time for everyone.

“It can often bring added pressures for many couples and families, around things like money and who to spend time with.

“And we expect things to be even tougher this year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why we wanted to come up with a simple but eye-catching way of raising awareness and encouraging people to get in touch, if they need us. The team from Toffee Hammer Studio have done a terrific job for us.”

Film 2 – Awareness for people who want support to change their behaviour

Director Maureen George, said: “As productions go, this has certainly been one of our more unusual assignments. However, we’ve all been thrilled to play our part in what is such an important campaign, supporting this worthwhile cause.

“For us as a group of actors, who have seen our bookings cancelled due to COVID-19, it’s brought a positive end to an otherwise incredibly testing year for all of us involved in the world of live theatre and the arts.”

The films support New Era’s wider ‘Is it Love, Actually…?’ campaign being run across its social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter throughout December.

New Era was commissioned in October 2018 by the Staffordshire Commissioner for police, fire and rescue and crime, along with Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

Support for victims is provided by Victim Support, while services for perpetrators are provided by the Reducing Reoffending Partnership.

Domestic Abuse Support

Remember, you are not to blame for what is happening. You are not alone, and above all, you do not have to suffer in silence.

Domestic abuse can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

  • physical
  • emotional
  • psychological
  • sexual
  • financial

Staffordshire-wide and Warwickshire-wide support for victims and their families:

  • New Era’s Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent 24-hour confidential helpline: 0300 303 3778 and their 24/7 live chat facility at www.new-era.uk
  • Talk2Someone Warwickshire has a confidential helpline which can be reached on 0800 408 1552 – lines are open 8:30 am – 8:30 pm, Monday – Friday and 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Saturday.

National support and out of hours:

  • Women’s Aid Domestic Violence Helpline – Free 24-hour national helpline run by Women’s Aid and Refuge – 0808 2000 247
  • Respect Men’s Advice Line – Confidential helpline for male victims of domestic abuse – 0808 801 0327
  • National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline – Emotional and practical support for LGBT+ people – 0800 999 5428

Localised support for victims and their families (including safe accommodation):

  • Pathway (supporting Lichfield and Tamworth): 01543 676800
  • Staffordshire Women’s Aid 24 hour confidential helpline (supporting Stafford, Cannock and South Staffordshire): 0300 330 5959

Staffordshire-wide services for perpetrators wanting to change their behaviour:

  • New Era Domestic Abuse Service for perpetrators who want support to change (across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent): 01785 601690  – (Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm)

In an emergency, always dial 999