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Cumbria Women’s Centres – Successfully Supporting Women During the Covid19 Pandemic

Cumbria Women’s Centre network are continuing to provide critical help to women across the county since the start of the pandemic, with specifically adapted and tailored services around the needs of local women and support groups.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall comments: “We have developed a thriving network of centres where women can have a single point of access to support services when they really need it. The Cumbria Women’s Centres dedicated teams of staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, making sure that vulnerable women continue to be supported.

“The message is clear, please don’t suffer in silence. If you are experiencing domestic abuse, help is out there.

“Access to a range of support services, peer support and one-to-one help during Lockdown 3 is available and people in danger or at risk due to domestic abuse,  need to be reassured that it is OK to leave the home and that face-to-face support in such exceptional circumstances, is available.

“There is a real need for services for vulnerable people, particularly for women who often also have dependent children, to be available across the county, as can been seen by the case study provided. Please take a few minutes and read the real-life experience of how support has made a real difference.”

Rebecca Robson, Senior Officer at Women’s Community Matters comments: “The last 10 months have been difficult for people across the world.  For those experiencing domestic abuse, a risk of homelessness, involvement with the criminal justice system, and or those who are struggling with their mental health, the restrictions may feel overwhelming.

“The women’s centres across the county are all still open and working to offer support and care.  I would encourage any women who are struggling to get in touch with their nearest Centre.  We are thinking of all of those who are struggling and we here to help when you are ready.”

Detective Chief Inspector James Yallop said: “The lockdown restrictions resulting from the pandemic have led to many people being at home more.  For some, that means they are spending more time with an abuser.  Other people may be feeling isolated or anxious around their circumstances and this could be impacting on their mental health.

“I want people to know, with confidence, they can leave their home to escape abuse or seek support in crisis. Please do not suffer in silence or feel trapped.

“The Women’s Centres in Cumbria, are a vital service providing tailored support to women and families. The centres can help with everything from counselling through to rehoming and financial support.

“Those in need of support, can gain access to these services by contacting them independently. However, if you are a victim of a crime, I would encourage you to report it to police. Incidents will be investigated thoroughly and sensitively. Our officers can also help you access these support services and we will support you throughout an investigation process.

“If you would like to find out more about the wealth of support services in Cumbria you can, contact Victim Support on 0808 1689 111 or visit: www.cumbriatogether.com.”

South – Women Community Matters

01229 311102    reception@womenscommunitymatters

North – Gateway for Women

01228 212090     admin@cumbriagateway.co.uk

West – Women Out West

01946 550103    contactus@womenoutwest.co.uk

 

CASE STUDY

Client A approached one of the Cumbria women’s centres in September last year for housing advice and during the meeting disclosed that she was a victim of high-risk domestic violence, her ex-partner was from out of area and still posed a significant risk to her and her children.

The Women Centre staff worked with Client A to complete a risk assessment and referral to MARAC, a safety plan was introduced and additional options for services from various other support agencies were discussed during the assessment with the Client A.

It was established by various organisations working with Client A that the ex-partner was a risk to the family, no one knew where he was, yet on social media he had begun a campaign to find her and the children.

The keyworker from the Women’s Centre continued to support Client A with daily calls, updated agencies involved each day and worked with Client A daily to review her safety plan.

The perpetrator was located and recalled to prison on a breach of order, allowing Client A and the supporting agencies to work with her with a much calmer mindset, to identify suitable accommodation.

The Women’s Centre keyworker organised a community safety visit from the police to assess Client A’s security needs and fit all necessary devices to the home. Client A and her children moved in successfully and by the time the perpetrator was released, storm alerts and a restraining order were in place.

Client A is still in contact with the keyworker on a fortnightly basis, but this is firmly in the recovery phase of the body of work. It is anticipated this will come to end by the end of February.

The keyworker from the Women’s Centre was instrumental in ensuring this case did not slip through the net and the probation service from the other county congratulated her work saying: “This case had a strong potential to end with a death.”

The outcome for Client A has been a positive one, with her safety, and that of her children being secured thanks to the support from the Women’s Centre.

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