COPELAND Council is tackling domestic abuse by highlighting its support service during the FIFA World Cup.
The council has supported 437 men, women and children to break free from domestic abuse, since its specialist service was introduced in 2017.
Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “The first England match takes place today (Monday).
“This, alongside the cost of living crisis, and the added pressures of the upcoming festive season, will undoubtedly be a difficult time for those in abusive relationships.
“We know that incidences of abuse rise during major sporting events, and we want to take this opportunity to remind residents of our service that provides safe places and specialist support to those that want to leave an abusive home.
“Our clients sometimes arrive with nothing but the clothes they’re wearing. We offer accommodation, clothing, personal items, access to counselling and financial aid - anything someone would need to start a new life.”
One client said: “The abuse I was suffering from a narcissist partner, and him telling me I was going to be made homeless, was very scary.
“The team was incredible. They listened and acted, they were patient, they helped me to understand I was in control, which was a massive step, as that was exactly what was taken away from me by my then partner.
“The help, support and counselling didn't just stop there. The whole network of teams got me to a safe house and then to my home, where I am now.
“They helped me with furniture and a host of other things too, day and night, weekends too, they were, and still are, available.
“The help and guidance I received has made a massive difference to my life.
“I am getting ‘me’ back, I am free, I am happy, and I cannot thank them all enough. They saved my life!”
Specialist officers have created a video to highlight the challenges of the coming months, and the accommodation and help on offer from the council.
The video focuses on abuse not always being physical and shines the spotlight on coercive and controlling behaviour.
The video can be viewed at https://youtu.be/YeNhijzhQa4
The council will join partners around the county to support victims of abuse by lighting up The Beacon Museum and the Candlestick, Whitehaven, orange, on November 25 – 27.
Call 01946 598300, 24 hours a day, or visit www.copeland.gov.uk/support-victims-domestic-abuse to get help. If you believe someone is in immediate danger, call 999.