All councils across Greater Manchester are following in Rochdale’s footsteps and having a relationships revolution.
All 10 local authorities have collaborated to create a relationships toolkit which is being rolled out across staff who work with families in councils, health, education, police, community and voluntary sectors.
The toolkit aims to ensure that everyone across the region who receives relationship support from a practitioner, be they a housing officer, social worker or health visitors, receives clear and consistent messages about the importance of strong, conflict-free family relationships.
The toolkit is a collection of best practice approaches and is for use with individuals and couples. It will help them think about the quality of their close relationships and learn new strategies to manage unhelpful and damaging conflict. It is designed to give practitioners confidence to have conversations with people about the relationships in their life, not to ‘fix them’ but to give them the tools and knowledge for them to make their own relationships healthier.
Deputy Mayor for Police and Crime Bev Hughes said: “It’s been a difficult and uncertain time for us all as we continue to navigate through the ongoing pandemic whilst taking care of ourselves and our loved ones. We recognise that the challenges of the last few months may have led to increased tensions and conflict in the family home and organisations across Greater Manchester have been working together to address this and make sure the right support is in place.
“The rollout of healthy relationship training and the toolkit to frontline staff across the city region will bolster this work, helping to support families earlier and prevent conflict from escalating and causing lasting damage to children, young people and parents.”
Some level of arguing is normal and a part of life for most couples and when it’s resolved well it does no harm. But for some couples their arguments are intense and frequent and don’t get resolved well which we know is not good for children and the wider family.
Conflict and abuse are not the same. Conflict can be part of a normal relationship and the toolkit focuses on how conflict can be constructive rather than destructive.
Since lockdown there has been an increase in incidents of domestic abuse right across Greater Manchester and we know that destructive conflict can lead to an increased risk of domestic abuse therefore it’s more important than ever that families are supported to learn the essential ingredients needed for constructive and respectful communication.
Supporting people to make small changes to how they communicate can have a big impact on their relationships, their wellbeing and their children’s wellbeing.
Couple, family and social relationships hold the key to good parenting, educational attainment, mental and physical wellbeing and quality of life in our later years. There is real benefit, across all support services, in investing in supporting people towards healthier relationships.
By encouraging practitioners to use this innovative toolkit across all Greater Manchester services hope to help as many couples, families and individuals as they can so that collaboratively all services can start a relationships revolution that can benefit our communities for many years to come.
If you are concerned about your relationships please contact your local authority’s early help service.
If you are in an abusive relationship there is lots of support available to you that is fully operational during COVID-19 restrictions.
Contact Refuge on 0808 2000 247. Your local council will also list support services on their website.
If your life is in danger please phone 999, you can also press ’55’ when prompted, if you cannot speak.