Most of us will have an enjoyable time at Christmas, but for people living with domestic abuse it can be a time when the situation becomes even worse.
Anyone who is forced to alter their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner’s reaction is being abused. Research has shown that abuse can happen at any stage of a relationship and is very rarely a ‘one-off’. One in four women will suffer from domestic abuse at some stage in their lives.
In 50% of domestic violence cases, the children can get hurt too, either by being subjected to violence themselves or witnessing it.
The West Lancashire Community Safety Partnership (WLCSP) is sending a message that help is available for anyone experiencing domestic abuse during the festive period.
Anyone who is in immediate danger should dial 999 and ask for the emergency services.
In West Lancashire, any residents experiencing domestic abuse, there are two local options.
The Liberty Centre provides personalised, emotional and practical support and runs the West Lancashire Women’s Refuge. They can be contacted on their free confidential 24-hour helpline number 0808 100 3062 or on 01695 50600. More information is available on their website www.thelibertycentre.org.uk or on Facebook. They may be able to assist in the provision of temporary supported accommodation.
Alternatively, Lancashire Victim Services offers emotional support, information and practical help to victims and witnesses in West Lancashire as well as across the county.
Anyone can contact Lancashire Victim Services, free of charge, and speak confidentially to an Independent Domestic Violence Adviser (IDVA) who will work with them to find the best way forward. IDVAs are specially trained to provide non-judgemental emotional support as well as practical help with issues including personal safety, housing and benefits.
In addition, West Lancashire Borough Council is accredited as a White Ribbon Organisation, as part of a global movement to put a stop to male violence against women and girls. The Council’s website www.westlancs.gov.uk/domesticviolence has some more details about services available to people suffering domestic violence. This includes information about a campaign which encourages people who have some awareness that a friend, relative or colleague is suffering from domestic violence, to get some support, advice or assistance.
Heidi McDougall, West Lancashire Community Safety Partnership chairperson, added: “Residents suffering from domestic abuse over the festive period should know that they are not alone and that help is available during this time, through the work that many of the partnership agencies do. Staff are on hand to listen to concerns and work with individuals or families to find a solution to put a stop to this awful behaviour. We also urge members of the community not to be a bystander and report any problems of domestic violence they are aware of to the Police. The Police will act to bring perpetrators to justice whenever they can and will work with all partner agencies to support victims to leave abusive relationships”.