New service starts for Domestic Abuse victims

It’s business as usual for Somerset’s Domestic Abuse Services as a new provider, Knightstone Housing, will start delivering a new, single point-of-contact, service from today (Tuesday 13 January).

Knightstone plans to operate a 24/7 local helpline which will offer support to anyone experiencing domestic abuse, whether as a victim or a perpetrator. It will also be the point of contact for professionals making referrals and any members of the public who want advice about domestic abuse.

They will provide a mixture of emergency accommodation across the county for men and women who want to flee domestic abuse, including a combination of refuge and safe-house properties.

Knightstone will be working in partnership with Barnardo’s to work with children and young people who are affected by domestic abuse and offer family support.

Male perpetrators of domestic abuse will also be given the opportunity to change their attitudes and behaviour through a dedicated work programme whilst women will also be able to access group support.

Cllr Christine Lawrence, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Domestic abuse can affect everyone – whether directly through being in an abusive relationship, or through witnessing a friend or relative experiencing abuse. It can affect people of all ages – children to the elderly. This new integrated service will allow everyone affected to receive the correct level of support through one single point of contact. I would urge anyone experiencing domestic abuse to call the local helpline. There is help available and you don’t need to suffer in silence.”

Sonia Furzland, Assistant Director of Supported Housing at Knightstone, said: “Supporting people impacted by domestic abuse and their children to live safe and stable lives is our priority. Together with Barnardo’s, our partner in delivering these services, we’ve been working closely with clients and stakeholders to ensure a seamless transition to this new integrated service. We’ve got substantial experience of supporting people impacted by domestic abuse so we can assure people of a safe, reliable and confidential service.”

Anyone affected by domestic abuse should phone the DAFFS (Domestic Abuse Freephone Support) helpline 0800 69 49 999 or visit www.somersetsurvivors.org.uk for a list of other phone numbers and advice. In an emergency always call 999.