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Resident credits council with saving life

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A VICTIM of domestic abuse has credited Copeland Borough Council for offering life-saving support.  

Fifteen victims of domestic abuse have received specialist help and support from the Council’s Prevention and Crisis Support Officer, since the role was introduced in January 2018.

The service users were all homeless or at risk of homelessness.

One service user said: “In January 2018 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. I thought what on earth could the Council do? Well they saved my life, got me into a hostel and helped me get a place to live where I reside now.

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

Another service user said: “I have suffered domestic abuse for 23 years. I walked out on my partner and went to Copeland Borough Council. 

“They have a fantastic team to help you. I had a lovely safe place to stay within two hours. 

“All the help is there for you, the team deal with everything. I have been free of my abuser for five months now I have a new home and a new life.

“You don’t have to suffer anymore! The support is long lasting to help you get a better life. Please don’t suffer anymore.”

The officer works with those who have suffered domestic abuse or sexual exploitation, linking in with the Council’s housing team providing emergency accommodation if necessary.

The role also often involves liaising with third party organisations such as housing associations, Job Centre Plus, Citizens Advice and the police depending on the individual’s needs.

As well as working with victims directly, the officer has been promoting the new service in the local community visiting community centres, support services and doctor’s surgeries.

The Prevention and Crisis Support Officer at Copeland Borough Council said: “I work with service users when they first make contact, often in a crisis, and will continue to work with them until they feel that they no longer require the confidential service.

“Just having someone to listen to them is all that some of our service users may need. Safety and wellbeing is our priority, everybody deserves the right to feel safe and get support.

“One in four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, it takes an average of 35 incidents before someone will ask for help, unless they act sooner, it is likely the abuse will continue, and no one deserves to be abused.”

Julie Betteridge, Executive Director, Operations at Copeland Borough Council, said: “This service is vitally important to our communities, and it is paramount that we as a council continue do everything we can to support and protect some of our most vulnerable residents.

“We know that the levels of domestic abuse increase during events such as sporting tournaments and with the World Cup on the horizon we want all of our residents to know what support is available to them.

“No one should have to suffer in silence and we urge anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse in the home, and has nowhere to go, to get in touch.

“Our confidential service provides expert support and a safe haven for those who need help to change their lives and break free from abusive relationships.”

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

To contact the Council’s 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 homeless or at risk of homelessness call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or email helpline@refuge.org.uk

Published: 1 June 2018 - 10:52am