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PCC promotes domestic abuse support services for 16 days of action

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, is highlighting his victim’s commissioned services as part of 16 Days of Action. 16 Days of Action takes place from Wednesday 25 November to Thursday 10 December and is an international campaign that raises awareness around the types of domestic abuse and the services available to those who are or have suffered from abuse.

There are five main types of domestic abuse: physical, emotional, psychological, sexual and financial. Physical abuse is the injuring, disabling or killing of the victim. Emotional abuse involves destroying the victim’s self-respect through insults and humiliation creating a dependency on the abuser. Psychological abuse involves subjecting the victim to humiliation and threats which allows the abuser to gain control around who the victim sees, what they wear and what they can and cannot do – this is also known as coercive control. Sexual abuse can include rape and sexual assault, but it can also include forcing the victim to post pornography, exposing their body to strangers and reproductive abuse such as forcing a partner to have an abortion. Financial abuse is controlling and limiting the victims’ access to money therefore controlling where they go and what they can buy – this is also an abusive tactic used to guarantee the victim cannot leave.

There are services available across Cumbria that can help victims of domestic abuse by offering emotional and practical support and provide information to those who need it:

  • Cumbria-wide: Victim Support Cumbria, Mon – Fri, 9am-6pm and can be reached on 0300 303 0157. The national 24/7 helpline is 0808 1689 111. Victim Support can help with any type of crime including sexual assault and rape and give advice that is completely private. They can signpost victims to therapeutic services in the county such as The Birchall Trust and Safety Net UK. Victim Support can also provide an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor who provides victims a tailored support plan to help them cope and recover. If you are unable to speak directly, Victim Support also has a 24/7 online chat on their website,
  • South: Women’s Community Matters, Barrow, can help with issues like domestic and sexual abuse, benefits and housing issues and mental wellbeing. They can also provide information on other services that can help you. They are open Monday 9.30am – 4pm, Tuesday 9.30am – 6pm, Wednesday 9.30am – 4pm, Thursday 9.30am – 6pm, Friday 9.30am – 1pm and can be reached on 01229 311102.
  • West: Women Out West, Whitehaven, can provide emotional support and advice on domestic abuse. They can also provide information on other services that can help you. They are open, Monday to Friday 9.30 – 2.30pm on 01946 550103.
  • North: Gateway 4 Women, Carlisle, provides support on issues like domestic abuse, mental wellbeing, homelessness, housing etc. and can also provide information on other domestic and sexual abuse services. They are open Monday – Thursday 9.30am – 4.30pm, Friday 9.30am – 1.00pm. They can be called on 01228 212090

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “Domestic abuse does take place in Cumbria and it is essential that those who have suffered or are suffering from abuse have access to help.

“We assume that domestic abuse is strictly physical, but this is simply not the case – any action that causes fear, humiliation or control within a relationship is abusive.

“I urge anyone that is in an abusive relationship to come forward and report to the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency, but I know that for some this is not an option.

“This is why I commission these services in Cumbria – so that those who do not wish to report to the police can still get help to leave their abuser and get support around housing, finances, therapy and sometimes just have someone to talk to.

“Over the COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, we have seen a rise in domestic abuse cases in the county.

“I want to make it very clear that these restrictions do not include those who are experiencing abuse – you can leave at any point and these services and/or the Police can help.

“Please do not suffer in silence – there is always help available.”

Lead for Domestic Abuse T/Detective Chief Inspector James Yallop said: “Getting the right support can empower a person to take their next positive step forward.  Please do not suffer in silence”.

“Domestic abuse is a crime and will not be tolerated.  We want to encourage victims to report abuse.  Incidents will be investigated thoroughly and sensitively and we will help people get the support they need”

“There is a whole wealth of support services available in Cumbria; everything from counselling to rehoming support in addition to many other services available nationally.

“As the Police, we can help you access these support services and we will support you though any court process.

“If you would like to report a non-urgent crime to police, please call 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.”

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