Extended range of domestic abuse services launched in Doncaster

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Doncaster Council in partnership with Riverside ECHG and Foundation have officially launched the borough’s extended range of services aimed at tackling domestic abuse.

For the first time ever victims of abuse and people who want to change their abusive behaviour now have access to support services through a single hotline number that signposts people to targeted support. The hotline ( 0800 4701 505) is open for an extended number of hours and the enhanced service means victims can access an improved range of emergency accommodation options.

Wendy Heritage-Stevens, Area Manager for Riverside ECHG said: “Riverside supports women, men and children affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence by rebuilding our client’s confidence and empowering them to take back control of their lives.

“Each client has their own appointed Riverside Support Worker to create a bespoke, structured, support plan. We run a refuge centre in Doncaster as well as offering support to people in their own homes. Being part of Doncaster’s abuse service helpline, means calls are transferred to our refuge accommodation during the evening to ensure we can continue to offer support. The police and emergency duty teams have the ability to refer to Riverside throughout the night if emergency accommodation is needed.”

A further addition to the service is the new Chance 2 Change service, a ground breaking programme delivered by Foundation for people who want to make lasting changes to their abusive behaviour. It is part of a wider approach to supporting the whole family and is based on tackling abuse at an early stage to stop it escalating. National evidence suggests that such programmes can positively influence abusive behaviour and early indications from people accessing the Chance 2 Change service are encouraging.

Councillor Joe Blackham, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Neighbourhoods said: “Tackling domestic abuse is a priority in Doncaster. We have invested in extending our services with financial support from the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Public Health Grant. Our multi agency approach means we can provide a comprehensive service and ensure needs based support for anyone who is in an abusive relationship.

“We recognise that prevention is key and want to get people to understand that abusive behaviour isn’t just about physical abuse such as hitting, it’s also about trying to control the other person and using threatening or intimidating language or behaviour. No-one should feel afraid of their partner or family member and parents should realise the effects that domestic abuse has on children. Although they may not be in the same room they can still suffer lasting effects. That’s why our focus on the whole family is key.”

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Tracey Cheetham added: “Protecting vulnerable people is one of the Commissioner’s top priorities and I am very pleased to see such a thorough service in operation in Doncaster.

Prevention and early intervention are key to addressing the issue of domestic abuse and this service not only tackles the symptoms of abuse, but also proactively works with people who want to change their abusive behaviour. This will help both victims and potential victims of domestic abuse, as well as their families.”

Further information about the full range of services can be found at www.doncasterdomesticabuse.co.uk