Copeland Borough Council is urging victims of domestic abuse and sexual exploitation to get help now.
With two bank holidays coming up, and the added pressures of staying at home during the current social distancing measures, the Council is reminding residents of the specialist support it provides.
The Council introduced a specialist role to support victims of domestic abuse and sexual exploitation in 2018. So far, its officer has provided vital help to 81 women and men, and 85 children who had nowhere safe to stay.
One service user said: “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. What on earth could the council do? Well they saved my life, helped me get a place to live where I reside now. Without this organisation I wouldn’t be writing this letter. Thank you.”
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. Some of these properties have been expertly designed specifically for people with children.
Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “As the National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25 per cent increase in calls and online requests for help since the lockdown, we want to remind residents of the local support that is available to them.
“We are urgently appealing for victims to come forward now, so we can help break the cycle and put a stop to their suffering.
“We’re also asking residents who may be aware of a family member, friend or neighbour that is suffering, to encourage victims to get the help they need, and pass on our details.
“We are in the midst of an international pandemic, worry has set in, tempers can flare and the bank holiday weekend could mean an increase in, at home, alcohol consumption.
“The time to get help is now. So please contact us to get the support you need.”
To contact the Council’s Prevention and Crisis Support Officer mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01946 427070.
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 have somewhere safe to stay should call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or email email@example.com