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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Lifeline for domestic violence victims to continue

A vital lifeline for domestic violence victims will continue.

Cumbria County Council photo
Ian Stewart

Senior councillors agreed that the integrated Independent Domestic Violence adviser and support service should be recommissioned, initially until 2017.

The ruling cabinet at Cumbria County Council agreed the move with council leader Stewart Young describing the service as “obviously a vital service we [the council] will continue to protect”.

At present victims can be referred to an Independent Domestic Violence Adviser, who can help them rebuild their lives after an abusive relationship.

This includes addressing safety worries, housing problems and wider family issues, but also helping victims to regain their confidence and independence. They also work closely with other agencies and organisations to help victims.

The contract for that service – now held by Impact Housing and jointly funded by the county council, police and others – is soon to expire. Councillors have now agreed that it can be recommissioned, initially until 2017.

Councillor Ian Stewart, a fellow member of the ruling cabinet of the authority, said: “When people question what does the council do for us this is not often up there in the highlights but it is so very important for the fabric of society in Cumbria.

“It is another thing that this council does for local people, like the formal removal of bodies for the coroner. There are lots of things that this authority does which is important and we need to get that message across.”

Councillor Anne Burns added: “If it wasn’t here I don’t want to think where women and victims would go for help.”

She also said that the service was held up elsewhere in the country as an example of good practice and highlights how different agencies work well together to protect some of the most vulnerable members of society.

Home Office statistics estimate that in any one year, 15,000 women and girls in Cumbria are victims of domestic violence, and 5,000 of sexual assault. Yet in 2012/13 only 6,547 incidents of domestic violence and 102 rapes were reported to police.

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