The new initiative to help tackle domestic abuse in Northumberland was officially launched on Friday.
Run by Places for People Living+, commissioned by Northumberland County Council the new integrated domestic abuse support service brings together existing services including a refuge, and independent domestic violence advisors (IDVA) for high risk cases. The new service will, for the first time, also offer a confidential 24 hour help line and outreach to female and male victims of domestic abuse.
Living+, who has been awarded a three-year contract by the Council, has been operating the new integrated service since 1st March 2018. In the first month it had 92 referrals and helped 32 new people. It is estimated that approximately 500 victims of domestic abuse will be supported each year through this new ‘one-stop-shop’ arrangement.
There has been an increase of 9.4% in police reported incidents of domestic abuse in Northumberland in the past year with more than 5,500 reported incidents in the county between April 2017 and March 2018. Of these, a quarter were male victims. In response to this, the integrated service will now offer support to male victims of domestic abuse for the first time through outreach and IDVA services.
A launch event was held at East Bedlington Community Centre, and attended by social workers, members of the police force, staff from children’s centres, members of community groups, former victims of domestic abuse, other domestic abuse support services and other services in the county that help people in need of support.
Places for People Living+ has been providing accommodation, support and outreach services for over 25 years. They believe that everyone has a right to live in a safe place without fear. Claire Bailey, Area Manager for Places for People Living +, part of Places for People Group, said: “Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse and we are fighting to end domestic abuse against men, women and children in Northumberland. We want people in the county to know they are not alone and we can help.This is a new approach for the county, with one central point of contact available 24 hours a day. It was great to get feedback from those attending the launch on exactly what they’d like to see from the service. It’s important we meet the needs of the people we’re here to help.”
Northumberland County Councillor Veronica Jones, cabinet member with responsibility for health and wellbeing said: “The council is committed to protecting and supporting the most vulnerable members of our community but because of the complexity of domestic abuse it cannot be tackled in isolation.
This new integrated service, with a single point of contact, will offer specialist, confidential advice and support for men and women who are experiencing or are at risk of domestic abuse.
This partnership approach will help us tackle the issue of domestic abuse more effectively, helping to foster a zero tolerance approach towards this hidden crime and increasing community confidence in reporting it.”
Anyone experiencing domestic abuse and wanting help or advice should call 01670 820199 to speak to an advisor or email DASSN@placesforpeople.co.uk. More information about the services available to victims can be found by visiting http://livingplus.placesforpeople.co.uk/customer/our-services/domestic-abuse/