A team of women footballers united by their commitment to helping people turn their lives around have been on target in a competition aimed at combating domestic abuse.
Staff from the Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Company (M CRC) and partner agency PSS, were joined by Stevie, a former service user, at the annual Women Against Domestic Abuse Tournament. MCRC and PSS work together off the pitch to deliver Women’s Turnaround – a service that supports adult female offenders and women at risk of offending in Liverpool and Knowsley to make positive changes in their lives.
The tournament was launched five years ago by the Liverpool Homeless Football Club (LHFC) to support women who are victims of domestic abuse and to raise awareness about the crime – a cause close to both organisations’ hearts.
It is the second year that PSS and M CRC staff have pulled on their jerseys and footy boots and participated in the event. The five-a-side team finished a credible second in the novice league.
Stevie, who suffers from anxiety and was on probation for assault, was supervised at the Women’s Turnaround Centre, which is in Kirkdale. She took part in the tournament for the second year on the trot, playing alongside her former probation officer Lucy Jack.
Stevie, who successfully completed her probation order and continues to visit the centre as a volunteer, said: “To be honest it means a lot to me to play alongside the people who supported me when I messed up and who helped me put things right.
“I’d had bad experiences growing up, I developed a bad attitude because of that, but the support I got from Lucy and PSS was brilliant.
“I also volunteered with Everton Football Club as a football coach, and that experience was transformational for me.”
LHFC launched the event because of the clear link to reported incidents of domestic abuse when big football occasions occur, such as the World Cup.
Lucy, who was joined by colleague Jo Walton from M CRC, said: “It’s a good team building exercise, it’s for a good cause and it is especially relevant to our work because many of the women we supervise have been victims of domestic abuse.
“It is also great to get the chance to catch-up with Stevie and to see that she is progressing so well.”
Sharon Cooper, PSS service manager at Women’s Turnaround, said: “Every day we hear about women who have suffered as a result of domestic abuse – and raising awareness of it is really important.
“The tournament is a fantastic way to get everyone together to do just that, and it’s great to partner up with M CRC and Stevie to take part. Stevie’s come a long way and we’re so proud of all she’s achieved.”
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