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Blackburn with Darwen’s domestic abuse service gets funding to help “Break the Cycle”

Published Wednesday 11 May 2016 at 12:52

A project working to help victims of domestic abuse across Blackburn and Darwen has received a lottery lifeline today as the Big Lottery Fund announced a £500k grant to enhance services in the borough.

Changing Lives, commissioned by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, provides support for victims of domestic abuse.

It has received nearly half a million pounds in additional funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme to support new work in Blackburn with Darwen over the next three years.

The service will be open to anyone experiencing domestic abuse. It will include work with families, and children and young people who have witnessed abuse, as well as specific groups such as employers.

In a key innovation for Blackburn with Darwen, Breaking the Cycle will include specific work with people who harm, to help them understand the impact of their behaviour and positive ways to change it.

Sayyed Osman, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Director of Localities and Prevention, said:

“We work closely with our partners to tackle Domestic Abuse in all its forms. This funding will enhance what is already a strong offer for victims in Blackburn with Darwen and maintain our status as one of the most effective local authorities in protecting vulnerable people from harm.”

Cllr Pat McFall, Chair of Blackburn with Darwen’s Domestic Abuse Strategic Board, said:

“Domestic abuse remains a hidden crime and prevention involves challenging social attitudes towards domestic abuse.

“Domestic abuse doesn’t always involve violence – it can be anything from controlling behaviour to verbal abuse. It’s important that people know they have somewhere to turn for help.

“We must do all we can to help break this cycle and encourage anyone affected by domestic abuse to seek help at the earliest opportunity.”

Domestic abuse is much more common than most people realise and sadly, on average, a woman is assaulted 35 times before she makes her first call for help.

It can happen at any stage of a relationship and is very rarely a one off. One in four women will suffer domestic abuse at some stage in their lives.

To help address this, the project will:

  • Provide one-to-one work and address barriers such as housing, drug and alcohol issues
  • Provide support to the whole family
  • Help victims build positive social networks
  • Train peer mentors who can help others with similar experiences

The project helps everyone affected by domestic abuse to develop positive coping strategies and the emotional well-being needed to break free from repeat cycles of victimisation.

Laura Seebohm, Director from Changing Lives, says:

“The development of this project came from consultation with our service users and is co-designed to ensure that we are meeting the specific needs they tell us are important, specifically emotional resilience and recovery.

“We know that these tools play a central role in breaking cycles of abuse. We are so excited, not only about the impact this project will make on the lives of women, children and families in Blackburn with Darwen, but also the wider learning over the three years.

“We will be working in close partnership with the borough as well as a range of organisations from private, public and voluntary, especially linking with the Lancashire Women’s Centre and local employers to reach out to those who may be reluctant to access support.”

The borough is committed to tackling domestic abuse in all its forms – it was recently awarded White Ribbon status – taking a firm stand against condoning this violence.

Blackburn with Darwen Council is working alongside Lancashire County Council, Lancashire Police, and the Police and Crime Commissioner who have all signed up to the White Ribbon campaign.

The pledge is a public commitment to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. It’s part of a wider plan to make Lancashire into the first White Ribbon County.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said:

“Domestic abuse can take many forms – physical, emotional, financial or sexual – and nobody should have to put up with it.

“This Lottery funding will strengthen the work that is ongoing across Lancashire, by the council, police and other agencies, to make sure the most vulnerable victims of this type of behaviour can get help and start to rebuild their lives.

“We at Lancashire Police remain committed to tackling domestic abuse and will continue to work with the council to help those who need it and to bring offenders to justice.”

If you are a victim of domestic abuse or wish to report an incident, you can contact Changing Lives for support in confidence on: (01254) 311181. Contact Police on 101 – always dial 999 in an emergency.

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