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West Mercia Women’s Aid’s CRUSH Project, a support and awareness raising programme for young people aged 13-19, has received a vital funding boost from BBC Children in Need.

West Mercia Women’s Aid has supported women and children experiencing domestic abuse across Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire for thirty years, through 24 hour helpline, refuge provision, community support and group programmes. One in four women will experien

ce domestic abuse in their lifetimes, and CRUSH’s group workshops help to support young victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse as well as those who may be at risk through witnessing abuse in their homes.

The CRUSH Project helps young people make safe and healthy relationships, and with the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kier Starmer, last year stating that young women aged 16-19 are most at risk of abuse, projects like CRUSH have rapidly become vital in helping young people to recognise warning signs in relationships, and identify where to turn to for help.

BBC Children in Need has rewarded the work of CRUSH by providing 3-year funding for a CRUSH Project Worker, to deliver the programme across the three counties.

“We’re delighted that Children in Need has recognised the positive impact CRUSH has already had, and we’re really pleased that thanks to their funding, we can offer the programme to even more young people - in many cases, changing their futures,” said Jemma Price, WMWA CRUSH Project Co-ordinator. “Anyone can experience domestic abuse; there is no ‘type’ of person who goes through it. Our dream is that in the future, all young people in our region and beyond who need it will be able to benefit from CRUSH.

The funding comes at a crucial time, with the rise of campaigns raising awarenessBBC CiN Image of domestic abuse and the wider issues that contribute to it. “From campaigns such as Everyday Sexism to the video released recently by YungStar, a very powerful cover of Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car with new lyrics telling the story of a domestic abuse victim who is eventually killed by her partner, people are realising that this should no longer be a hidden crime”, said Jemma. “With two women killed each week by their abuser, we need to take a stand to end violence against women and girls.”

Information about Kier Starmer’s comments on domestic abuse and young people can be found here: http://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/1050274/young-women-risk-domestic-violence

YungStar’s version of ‘Fast Car’ can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3KtYttJQpY