Hollyoaks actress Nikki Sanderson was among the speakers at a domestic abuse conference in Liverpool.
More than 30,000 cases of domestic abuse are reported each year in Merseyside.
The conference was organised by Morecrofts Solicitors which represents many abuse victims across the region to discuss what is being done to tackle the problem.
Ex-Coronation Street star Nikki is nominated for best actress at this year’s British Soap Awards for her portrayal of Maxine Minniver, who has suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her partner.
She was joined on stage at the first-ever Domestic Abuse Conference: The Ripple Effect, by Ian McNichol, a victim of domestic violence and an ambassador for The Mankind Initiative, Barnardo’s Abby Ogier, Merseyside Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy and assistant director of safeguarding at Alder Hey, Julie Knowles.
Also speaking was Jacqui and Ayla Nasuh of Merseyside Domestic Violence Support, who said reduced funding is putting a strain on frontline care and protection services.
Julie Waring, a family law partner at Morecrofts Solicitors, told the conference at Liverpool’s Marriott Hotel: “In recent years we’ve seen an increase in domestic abuse cases, which may be due to a change in popular culture or increased media coverage, but hopefully it’s also because people now realise they can speak out if they are being victimised.
“The ripple effect of domestic abuse can go well beyond the act itself and affect many other people, most notably children, as well as wider issues like housing, jobs and education.
“The law is moving in the right direction but areas of huge challenge remain, including too little support for LGBT victims, the fact that refuges are still forced to turn away many people in real need, and insufficient resources are given to educating perpetrators to reverse their behaviour.
“We hope this conference can provide a platform for further discussion and co-operation to address the issue domestic abuse.”