Domestic abuse services launch

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(left to right): Ruth Wilson, (operations manager - Victim Support), Chris Highton (principal community safety officer – Rochdale Borough Council), Mark Dalzell (head of neighbourhood services – Rochdale Borough Council), Sarah Lewis (contract manager – Victim Support), Alex Atkinson (assistant manager - SafeNet), Councillor Janet Emsley (cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture – Rochdale Borough Council) and Karen Ainsworth (chair of SafeNet board).
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New emergency accommodation and support services for victims and children affected by domestic abuse have launched in the borough of Rochdale.

Rochdale Borough Council has commissioned the services which will provide 15 safe refuge units for women and children escaping abuse as well as confidential support in the community for victims.

The refuge accommodation service will be run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by SafeNet Domestic Abuse and Support Services, an established domestic abuse service which have been operating across the North West for 40 years, alongside their emergency safe house provisions, and only male safe house in the North.

SafeNet will also provide confidential, emotional and practical support to help survivors stay safe in the community, and with housing related issues, including resettlement.

Helen Gauder, managing director of SafeNet, said: “SafeNet are pleased to be delivering these essential refuge and resettlement services to Rochdale residents, to support victims and survivors of domestic abuse, help them take back control of their lives and move towards a safer, healthier future for themselves and their children.”

These services will be complimented by additional domestic abuse support services from Rochdale Victim Support who have provided specialist services in the borough for over 10 years.

A team of support workers will provide holistic support to all victims, children and families affected by domestic abuse at any risk level and will include help with crisis checklists and escape plans. A free and confidential information and advice line is now in place so self-referrals can be made to the service to offer immediate advice and safety planning to victims and their families.

Ruth Wilson, operations manager at Victim Support, said: “Survivors often feel that they have no-one to turn to, vulnerable and alone. Anyone can pick up the phone, our support is free and confidential and we are here to help anyone suffering from abuse to access the support they need whether that is someone to talk too anonymously or help to leave an abusive relationship.”

It is hoped that these services alongside existing prevention initiatives such as the Freedom Programme, Striving for Change courses and the local school education resource, will help to reduce the amount of domestic abuse and the affect it has upon victims, children, families and communities throughout the borough.

Councillor Janet Emsley, Rochdale Borough Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture, said: “Victims of domestic abuse can often feel alone at the scariest time of their lives and some don’t realise that help is out there for them. That doesn’t sit right with me so I’m pleased that we are able to provide this essential support that really will save lives. Domestic abuse is everyone’s business so let’s make sure everyone knows it will not be tolerated and there are services available to help people stay safe.”

For more information about the services available contact the services directly:

SafeNet Domestic Abuse and Support Services – www.safenet.org.uk
or 01706 868896

Victim Support – www.victimsupport.org.uk or 0161 856 5810

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