Somerset domestic abuse service recognised as a national ‘Leading Light’

A Somerset specialist support service offering help and a safe place for anyone affected by domestic abuse has been awarded national quality accreditation by Safe Lives’ – the UK charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse.

The Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse (SIDAS) service, commissioned by Somerset County Council, and delivered by Knightstone Housing and Barnardo’s, joins forty five other UK domestic abuse services to have achieved the prestigious “Leading Lights” status since the programme launched in 2009.

SafeLives Leading Lights status is the mark of quality for domestic abuse services and The Leading Lights accreditation programme offers services, partner agencies and commissioners a set of standards for supporting victims of domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse is much more common than people think; one in four women and one in six men will experience it at some point in their lives. It can affect anyone no matter what gender or sexuality and it can take many forms including psychological and emotional abuse, physical and sexual abuse, harassment and control and coercion.

Councillor Christine Lawrence, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing at Somerset County Council said: “We are extremely proud of this achievement and offer our congratulations to everyone involved.

“Please remember that if you are affected by domestic abuse in any way and want to talk, either as a friend, family member, professional or you want to change your own behaviour then there is a confidential helpline available for you.”

Melanie Thomson, Strategic Business Manager at Knightstone Housing added: “Supporting people impacted by domestic abuse and their children to live safe and stable lives is our priority. It’s great that our safe, reliable and confidential service has been accredited by Safe Lives as a national ‘Leading Light.”

You can call the Somerset Domestic Abuse Support helpline on 0800 69 49 999 for confidential advice and support on any aspect of domestic abuse.

There is also a very useful ‘Friends and Family’ guide to read offering advice on what to do if you suspect a loved one is affected by domestic abuse in any way and lots of information for professionals at http://www.somersetsurvivors.org.uk

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For further information, please contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email pressoffice@somerset.gov.uk

Notes to Editors:

The national domestic abuse charity Safe Lives provides Leading Lights accreditation scheme for domestic abuse services in the UK. It is nationally recognised as a mark of quality for domestic abuse services, enabling services, partner agencies and commissioners to show that a set of high standards for supporting victims of domestic abuse has been achieved.

The programme was launched in 2009 and Safe Lives have offered services in coaching, workshops and assessment since that time, with over 45 gaining accreditation.

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