CHESHIRE Fire and Rescue Service has been accredited with White Ribbon Status as part of its pledge to protect vulnerable people in Cheshire.

The service works with partners to identify risks and offer safety measures to victims of domestic violence but becoming accredited means it can effectively marshal resources to challenge domestic abuse and make a real difference.

The service will use this accreditation to tackle domestic abuse in all its forms, not just against women.

Gus O’Rourke, assistant chief fire officer, said: “White Ribbon is a fantastic national campaign which addresses the real issue of domestic violence.

“I am absolutely thrilled that the service has been accredited White Ribbon Status as this will enables us to bring greater awareness of this issue to the public and encourage victims of domestic violence to not suffer in silence and come forward.

“A big part of our work includes offering fire safety advice to vulnerable adults and young people, which can include fitting fire-proof letter box covers, smoke alarms, and wheelie bin locks.

“Domestic arson is often linked to a domestic violence and can be a common problem - it is often a hidden crime, and it can happen and affect anyone.”

To commemorate White Ribbon Day in November, the service constructed a giant white ribbon as a highly visible symbol of support.

Gus added: “The service recognises that it is not only women who are victims of domestic abuse. Unfortunately, domestic abuse is also perpetrated both by women against men and in same sex relationships.

“We are also committed to supporting ‘Open the Door’, a county-wide campaign which aims to bring domestic abuse out from behind closed doors by encouraging people to start a conversation and seek advice and support.”