Kym Marsh has encouraged people who are suffering from domestic abuse or think they might be to seek help as she backed a new campaign to support victims.
Domestic abuse charity Refuge has seen a surge in demand for help and calls to its helpline since the nationwide lockdown earlier this year.
The Coronation Street star is fronting #HereForHer, a campaign by the Crime + Investigation channel, which has partnered with the charity, to support victims.
She told the PA news agency: “I haven’t been a victim of domestic abuse myself but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to get involved, I think anybody should want to get involved because it’s not acceptable, full stop, and it needs to be stamped out.
“What we need to do is continue to support people, continue to support the victims of domestic abuse and Refuge are doing such a wonderful job doing that.
“However, what I want to do, the role I want to play, is to lend my voice to that campaign, to get the message out there, to reach out to the victims who think they might be being abused to encourage people to speak out so that they know that there is a big community of people there to help them in Refuge.
“And I also want to to reach out to the general public to say let’s help fundraise because this is such an important organisation and we need to fundraise to continue to help victims of domestic abuse.”
She added: “The extent of their work is mindblowing, the amount of time and dedication and help that they give to victims of abuse is just unbelievable.
“Let’s not forget abuse takes on many different forms, it’s not just about the physical side of it, there’s lots of different forms of abuse.
“I often think that people tend not to talk about it’s almost like a taboo subject and people feel like it’s a private matter and they don’t necessarily realise that it’s happening sometimes so if anyone does have any questions about it go to Refuge and speak to them, it’s important.”
Lisa King of Refuge said: “Sadly domestic abuse, pandemic aside, is the biggest issue affecting women and children in this country and it has been for decades.
“Decade in, decade out, the figures are shocking and they don’t go changing.
“And what frighteningly has been seen in the pandemic and these many months of lockdown is that actually domestic abuse has increased, the demand for our services, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline that Refuge runs, and increasingly our front line services, as women are now able to access support.
“The demand on all of that remains incredibly high so it’s very concerning.
“Certainly lockdown has exacerbated and made worse domestic abuse and that can be understood when you think what domestic abuse is, it’s all about having power and control over another person, being isolated.
“These are very key tactics of control and perpetrators so when the Government put down lockdown measures and isolated us all in our own homes, that really increased our understanding of why domestic abuse might suddenly have become so much worse.
“Women have been locked in with their perpetrators, unable to reach out and access any form of support and that sadly had some significant consequences for the lives of women and children across this country over the last few months.”