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Copeland Council offers domestic violence support

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COPELAND Council is helping to support those affected by domestic violence and sexual exploitation with the appointment of a dedicated worker.

The aim of the new role is to provide a crisis support and prevention service to residents in the borough who have experienced – or are at risk of – abuse in the home or sexual exploitation.

Collaborating with a host of agencies, the worker will ensure vulnerable people can get the housing and support they need.

Domestic violence is a long-standing problem in Copeland, and Cumbria Constabulary attended 1,083 incidents of domestic violence in the borough in 2016/17, including 477 in Whitehaven, 136 in Egremont and 130 in Cleator Moor.

The creation of the new post of Specialist Prevention and Crisis Support Officer within Copeland Council’s Strategic Housing team is in “direct response to these figures to ensure vital support is available,” said Mayor Mike Starkie.

As part of a Cumbria-wide initiative, Copeland has successfully applied for a £88,000 grant from Department for Communities and Local Government’s Domestic Abuse Project to the fund the support worker post on a two-year term. Also included is some temporary housing provision in Copeland for those affected.

As well as delivering support and prevention activities and working with other authorities around the county that are part of DAP, the worker will also promote prevention and safeguarding messages in the wider community through advice and awareness-raising events.

The Council has special dispensation under the Equality Act to specify that the post is only open to women.

Mr Starkie said: “We are part of a network of support services in Cumbria aimed at tackling domestic violence and sexual exploitation, and we work closely with colleagues in the West Cumbria Community Safety Partnership and through the Copeland Hub.”

Councillor Mark Holliday, Portfolio Holder, added: “We didn’t hesitate to apply for DCLG funding to create this key role in our Strategic Housing team that I am confident will provide a lifeline in supporting those in need.”

To contact Copeland Council’s Strategic Housing team, which also supports those at risk of homelessness, telephone 01946 598300 or email