Take that first step to safety and regain control of your life

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Domestic abuse: support and safe refuge for victims.

The Royal Borough and The Dash Charity are reminding victims of domestic abuse that support is always available to help them take that first step to safety and regain control of their lives.

As part of 16 days of national activism following White Ribbon Day, the partners are also raising awareness of the different forms domestic abuse can take, whether it be physical, sexual, violent or threatening behaviour, controlling or coercive behaviour, economic, psychological, emotional or other abuse.

Nationally, it is estimated that one in four women and one in six men experience domestic abuse at some point in their life. Within the Royal Borough, there were 2,585 domestic abuse-related incidents recorded by police during 2021/22 – an average of seven reports a day. The Dash Charity received 947 referrals into their adult support service and 124 referrals into their children’s programme.   

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, support is available 24/7. In an emergency, always call 999. If you can’t speak, call 999, listen to the call handler and answer questions, either by pushing buttons or coughing. If prompted, press 55 to let the operator know it’s a genuine emergency. 

If you don’t want to speak to the police, The Dash Charity helpline – 01753 549865 – is open Monday-Wednesday from 9.30am-2.30pm and Thursday - Friday 9.30am-4pm. https://thedashcharity.org.uk Alternatively, you can call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline which is free and open 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247. www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk  

The council’s Housing Service can provide advice, support and emergency safe housing 24/7 for victims within the borough. If calling Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, please contact our housing duty team on 01628 683803. The out-of-hours contact is 01344 786543.

All the Royal Borough’s libraries are designated safe spaces where staff are trained to discreetly seek help for victims. Several local pharmacies also offer safe spaces for sufferers. See the locations at https://uksaysnomore.org/safespaces

Furthermore, the national Ask for ANI scheme allows victims to signal they need emergency help by saying the codeword ‘ANI’ in participating pharmacies including all Boots stores.

Nicola Miller, Chief Executive of The Dash Charity, said: “The Dash Charity helps hundreds of adults and children every year to take steps away from domestic abuse and towards living safer lives. 

“There are so many potential barriers to leaving an abusive home or relationship - from the cost of living crisis to not knowing where to begin - and it can take time for people to be ready to make that move. Dash is there to support them the whole way.”

Councillor Stuart Carroll, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, Education, Health, Mental Health and Transformation, said: “Domestic abuse is insidious and often underreported. We work closely with partners, including The Dash Charity and police, to help local victims and their children find safety, to support prevention and early intervention work where possible, and to tackle perpetrators.

“Domestic abuse will not be tolerated. If you’re sadly affected within our borough, please remember that you are not alone. As we mark White Ribbon Day, please remember that support is available 24/7 to help you take that first step to safety and regain control of your life.

“Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality or background. It can take various forms and its impacts are serious and lasting, both to the direct victim and any children who witness it.

“Abuse of any sort has no place in our borough and we continue to take a zero tolerance approach with our partners. There is absolutely no excuse for abuse, so please seek help if you are sadly affected.”