VICTIMS of domestic abuse and sexual exploitation can now access increased support services provided by Copeland Borough Council.
The Council has recruited a full-time officer to support residents who are at risk of homelessness and have experienced – or at risk of abuse or sexual exploitation.
The number of victims presenting as homeless in Copeland has risen by over 25% in the last 18 months and, with domestic abuse known to rise over the Christmas period, the Council is ensuring that it is providing much needed support to vulnerable residents.
Councillor Mark Holliday, Member Champion and project lead at Copeland Council for the prevention of domestic abuse, said: “As Member Champion and lead of this project I am making reducing the scourge of domestic abuse my number one priority and will continue to support the efforts we are making.
“The sheer scale of this terrible issue in our borough makes me fully committed to reducing the impact.”
Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “This is just one of a range of projects we are committed to and championing to address social issues across the borough.”
In addition to employing the Specialist Prevention and Crisis Support Officer, the Council is also investing in two additional properties that are specially adapted for victims of abuse and exploitation.
These properties will provide emergency accommodation for victims who present as homeless to ensure they have a safe place to stay and one of these properties has been expertly designed specifically for victims with children.
As well as delivering support and prevention activities and working with other authorities around the county, including voluntary and third sector groups, the worker will link with other agencies to promote prevention and safeguarding messages in the wider community through advice and awareness-raising events.
To contact the Council’s Specialist Prevention and Crisis Support Officer email Housing.Options@copeland.gov.uk or call 01946 598300.
The Council advises that anyone who believes they are in immediate danger of abuse or exploitation to call 999 immediately. For those who are affected by these issues but are not at risk of homelessness call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or email email@example.com.