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Victims urged not to suffer in silence

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VICTIMS of domestic abuse, with nowhere to go, have been encouraged to put an end to their suffering by contacting Copeland Council.

Domestic abuse incidents almost treble over the Christmas period, with 617 incidents recorded in West Cumbria during December 2017.

The council has provided specialist help and support to 37 victims of domestic abuse through its 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: “After a recent realisation that I had been in an abusive relationship for 19 years, I decided to leave my marriage.

“The support that I received was invaluable. Without this I doubt I would be here today.  I have tried to leave in the past but would always return. However, having this support really made the difference.”

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. One of these properties has been expertly designed specifically for people with children.

Julie Betteridge, Executive Director, Operations at Copeland Borough Council, said: “Christmas for many is a time of increased stress with extra financial worries. These worries, along with alcohol consumption, can often lead to tempers boiling over.

“Whatever the cause, domestic abuse is never acceptable and nobody should have to endure such behaviour.

“In many situations children in the home are often witnesses and sometimes even victims of the abuse. The effect on them can be traumatic and long term, and in many instances, life-changing.

“We understand how difficult it is to make that first step and come forward, but we’re here to let people know that contacting us can be the first step in breaking the cycle.”

To contact the Council’s Prevention and Crisis Support Officer email 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