A DOMESTIC abuse centre supporting male victims and survivors has opened in Wirral.

The Paul Lavelle Foundation (PLF) officially opened at Royal Standard House in Rock Ferry today (Friday, February 22) with the help of legendary Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall.

The hub will offer services for men who are suffering domestic abuse and act as a base for future events from the charity.

Set up in 2017, the charity is named after 50-year-old Paul Lavelle, from Rock Ferry, who was killed by his girlfriend Sarah Lewis after she attacked him with a broken dinner plate in May 2017.

Lewis has since been sentenced to serve seven and half years after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Paul's friends then launched the charity in honour of him in a bid to end the stigma in reporting male domestic abuse.

A founding trustee at PLF and good friend of Paul’s, Paul Gladwell said: “The foundation has grown at a seriously fast pace over the 12 months we have been a charity.

"We have always tried to walk before we can run but we have found that we are actually sprinting due to the response we have had since we set up the community from people wanting our support.

“We are finding that many of the people contacting us with concerns seem to be worried mothers, family members and friends and not the man suffering.

"We need men to feel comfortable to open up.

"This is one of the biggest issues for male victims of domestic abuse and this is the issue we are trying to change, to support men to realise they’re in an abusive situation and access our services.”

The launch event saw a plaque unveiled commemorating Paul by his mum Barbara and Neville Southall

Chairman of Wirral Domestic Abuse Alliance and cabinet member for Law and Order Cllr Paul Stuart said: “Domestic abuse is an issue that affects many in Wirral.

"I am proud that we are able to back Paul Lavelle Foundation to set up offices which will make outreach and support options for men who are experiencing domestic abuse more easily accessible.

“While statistically more women are victims and survivors of abuse, we know too that men can also be abused in this way.

"Often this abuse can go undetected for years until a survivor speaks out or an abuser is found out.

“In Wirral we’re committed to recognising all kinds of abuse regardless of the survivor or abuser’s backgrounds.

"The future is bright for Paul Lavelle Foundation and I congratulate the dedicated volunteers who are bringing this vital work to light.”

If you or a male loved one has been affected by domestic abuse, visit the Paul Lavelle Foundation’s website for more information: https://paullavellefoundation.co.uk/