Lifeline for domestic violence victims in West Cumbria

3rd February 2017

On average, it takes 37 incidents before victims of domestic violence ask for help.

West Cumbria Domestic Violence Support provides practical and emotional help to victims, survivors and perpetrators of domestic abuse in Allerdale and Copeland. The charity is the only organisation in West Cumbria that provides long term domestic violence support to address the root causes of abuse.

West Cumbria Domestic Violence SupportThe organisation runs six groups including adult victims, adult perpetrators, two groups for younger children and two groups for older children/young people, providing group support and one-to-one counselling with trained professionals.

It also provides a 24-hour helpline, which is manned by trained volunteers who are often survivors of abuse themselves and can empathise and support victims through the wisdom gained from their own experiences.

Volunteers also provide an individual befriending service and often accompany clients to meetings. The organisation was awarded £3,000 from Foundation Grants towards the training costs for their volunteers. All volunteers receive training in domestic violence support, risk assessment and child protection.

Carole Launder, Project Manager at West Cumbria Domestic Violence Support said: “Receiving the grant has allowed us to support and train our volunteers, who are at the forefront of our work. Without them we cannot staff the helpline or provide one to one volunteer emotional and practical support to victims.

“The support provided by volunteers to vulnerable people enables them to access the complete package of our services and also the services of other agencies. The volunteers are part of the reason that we can help our clients achieve lasting change in their lives.”

Carole described the positive impact the group support sessions have had on a particular teenage girl who has been affected by domestic violence.

She said: “One girl who was recently referred to us, had witnessed a great deal of domestic violence at home and presented very quiet and withdrawn. Over the weeks, she was encouraged to join group discussions and tell her story.

“Once realising she was not alone in her situation, she opened up and shared her feelings and frustrations. Her confidence has really grown and she is now much more expressive. She has joined an amateur dramatic group and has even set up her own channel on YouTube. Her school reported she was like a different child, much happier and confident.”

For more information on the services provided by West Cumbria Domestic Violence Support, visit www.freedom-project-west-cumbria.org.uk or phone 01900 67167.

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