Published: 11:46, 22 January 2020
| Updated: 11:47, 22 January 2020
A group of nightlife workers have received domestic abuse training.
Door staff, club and pub employees and owners working in Maidstone who attended the coaching session are now known as Domestic Abuse Guardians.
One Maidstone, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving the town’s trading environment, is assisting Kent Police in rolling out the scheme.
The first free session was held yesterday (January 21), featuring talks from representatives of the National Centre for Domestic Violence and officers.
Those who attended were provided with information on how to spot the signs of abuse, how best to speak with those dealing with the effects and signposting the relevant services and help.
It is hoped venues will nominate Domestic Abuse Guardians which members of the public will be able to approach should they need assistance on a night out.
They will also be able to recognise the signs of abuse or deal with sensitive incidents.
The scheme will eventually be rolled out across other daytime businesses in town.
One Maidstone's BID Ambassadors, who patrol the streets during the day and night supporting police with anti-social behaviour, will also be taking the training.
Ilsa Butler, One Maidstone’s BID manager, said: "Door and bar staff are well placed to witness and potentially intercept domestic disputes, which can unfortunately occur, escalate or begin on evenings out – or to recognise the signs of ongoing abuse, offer support and information, or refer cases as appropriate.
"We aim to promote this scheme so that bar and club customers know that Guardians are available to approach throughout the town centre as a point of safety, and a discreet way of accessing the services that are available."
Insp Mark Hedges, of the Maidstone community safety unit, said: "Increasing awareness and support around domestic violence is a key priority.
"Maidstone has a thriving night time economy, and when bar and club staff are trained to recognise key signs and have the knowledge to help and make relevant referrals, this will create a network of Guardians in place to help residents and visitors who may be experiencing these issues, whom the public know they can approach and trust."
More by this authorLydia Catling