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Council urges victims of domestic abuse to come forward this Christmas

AS domestic abuse rates soar in December, victims are being encouraged to put an end to their suffering.

Domestic abuse incidents almost treble over the Christmas period, with 105 domestic abuse incidents reported in Copeland, in December 2018, 43 of these cases involved repeat victims.

Copeland Council introduced a specialist role to support victims of domestic abuse and sexual exploitation in 2018. Its officer has provided vital help to 81 women and men, and 85 children who were all homeless or at risk of homelessness.

In a letter sent by one service user, the specialist officer was credited for her support: “I just wanted to say a huge, huge thanks for your kindness.

“I’ve been through so much, every avenue I went down was saying nobody could help.

“You will never know the difference you made yesterday.

“I’m going to rebuild my life. I’ve actually, for the first time in 40 years been able to say – this happened to me.”

Another service user said: “I found myself in unfamiliar waters, with nowhere to turn.

“A friend of mine took me into the council offices and I met two ladies.

“What on earth could the council do?

“Well they saved my life, helped me get a place to live where I reside now.

“Without this organisation I wouldn’t be writing this letter. Thank you.”

The Prevention and Crisis Support Officer works with those who have suffered domestic abuse or sexual exploitation, linking in with the Council’s housing team to provide emergency accommodation if necessary.

In addition to the role, the council also provides emergency accommodation to those in need to ensure they have a safe place to stay. Three of these properties has been expertly designed specifically for people with children.

Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland said: “We know that domestic abuse rates soar with the added pressures this time of year, and are urging victims with nowhere to go to come forward.

“We can offer a range of support if you need a helping hand.

“Our officer is fully trained to provide specialist care and has so far helped 81 people break that cycle.

“To those that need help – you do not have to suffer in silence any longer.”

To contact the Council’s Prevention and Crisis Support Officer email [email protected] or call 01946 598300.

The council advises that anyone who believes they are in immediate danger of abuse or exploitation should call 999 immediately. Those who are affected by these issues but are not homeless or at risk of homelessness should call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or email [email protected]

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