• Oliver Hodgson

200 men, women and children supported to leave abusive homes


Mike Starkie . Stock imagery: Oliver Hodgson

COPELAND Council has supported 200 men, women and children to leave abusive homes, over the last two years.

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 102 men and women, and 98 children who had nowhere safe to stay.

So far, during the pandemic, the Council’s Housing team has offered advice and assistance to eight sufferers and provided safe accommodation for two of these victims, and is urging more people to come forward.

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.

One service user said: “I have never had the pleasure of receiving such amazing, life-changing support.

“Your officers have not just helped our housing situation for the better, but they have had a huge hand in making our new life the happiest it’s ever been.”

The Council can also provide extra security measures such as door bars to those who want to add extra safety measures to their properties.

Another service user said: “Mine and my children’s housing situation has improved dramatically through your incredible kind support.

“We have been provided with a fire safety letterbox as this was one of the threats we faced.

“The officer offered continuous support and assistance, she arranged for measures to be put in place so that my family and I feel much safer in our own home. I think the service is fantastic.”

Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “For those suffering from domestic abuse, the time to put an end to it is now. The added pressures of the current crisis are unfortunately only likely to exacerbate this abuse further.

“We want you to know that we can help, and encourage you not to be afraid to come forward. Everyone deserves to live safely and happily, and this includes you too. So please, let us help you.”

Boots UK pharmacies have also offered their consultation rooms as a safe place for victims of domestic abuse to go and get help.

To contact the Council’s Prevention and Crisis Support Officer email housing.options@copeland.gov.uk or call 01946 427070 (24 hours a day).

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 helpline@refuge.org.uk.


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