Lifeline of Support Needed for Domestic Abuse Victims

by Catherine Smyth Media

SHOCKING statistics have shown that one in three adults in Rossendale might be a victim of domestic abuse or know someone who is.

These figures have prompted Rossendale Citizens’ Advice Bureau along with The STAR Centre, the main support agency in Rossendale for domestic abuse, to appeal to family and friends to become a lifeline of support.

In 2013/14 The STAR Centre handled more than 1,600 calls from people affected by abuse.

CAB Manager Rachel Whippy said: “The online survey, for the CAB, found one in four women and one in nine men had been a victim of some form of domestic abuse; be it physical, emotional, financial or psychological. It is very shocking.

“Obviously we deal with people who have a lot of problems. Although clients might not mention abuse at first, last year while 82 clients were receiving ongoing support from an advisor they mentioned they were suffering domestic abuse. However the true number will be much larger because not everyone will mention it.”

Working closely with The STAR Centre, those clients were sign posted if they wanted additional help. The CAB also supports The Star Centre clients with debt and welfare benefit issues.

Rachel said: “There is a social taboo around admitting domestic abuse and lots of people are reluctant to say what is going on.

“Friends and family can be a lifeline to support victims of domestic abuse as those suffering may feel unable to reach out for help themselves.”

ComRes carried out the national survey of a cross section of more than 2,000 adults and the CAB has compiled the data into a report ‘A link in the chain’.

Nearly half of those who said they had personal experience of domestic abuse said their friends and families were aware, but only 14 per cent said the police knew.

Of those who had experienced abuse, more than a third had not told anyone.

Debra Molyneaux, manager of The STAR Centre, said: “Referrals to our service have risen dramatically since the instigation of the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub and new services have been commissioned in response to the escalation in demand.

“We would like to encourage people to self-refer at the earliest stage possible and that is where friends and relatives can be of enormous help.”

If you, or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, you can call The STAR Centre on 01706 830600, email office@thestarcentreuk.org and out of hours contact 0844 811 4350.

Rossendale CAB worked with 2,400 individual clients last year and the agency takes 250 calls a month and is always looking for new volunteers.

The CAB helpline is open Monday to Thursday 9.30am-12.30pm on 0844 499 4121, from a landline, or 0300 456 2552.

National Helplines are also available. For women contact 0808 2000 247, for men 0808 8010 327 and for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender contact 0300 9995 428.

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