Wigan Council aims to bring domestic abuse out of the shadows

lots of words relating to domestic violence

Domestic abuse victims or anyone who is concerned about the wellbeing of an individual in Wigan borough can now contact a dedicated helpline.

The service will be available each weekday with trained staff on hand to offer support to victims, families, friends and staff.

Developed by Wigan Council, in partnership with local organisations DIAS Domestic Violence Centre and The Well Women Centre, it will provide a central point of contact for people that may be concerned for the safety of someone living in the borough.

The helpline is part of a new domestic abuse strategy launched by the council that aims to meet the needs of residents from prevention through to crisis support.

The strategy has been developed and informed by victims, specialists and a wide variety of professionals from the public, private and voluntary sector.

Thoughts and experiences of victims, their children and their wider families have been carefully captured to shape the well-rounded offer Wigan Council can provide in the future.

Coun Paula Wakefield, lead Member for Equalities and Domestic Abuse, said: “No one should have to suffer in silence so this helpline is the first step in fostering an environment in which domestic abuse victims feel comfortable in coming forward.

“Domestic abuse can happen to anyone and sometimes the warning signs are hard to spot so we hope the wide-ranging support will shine a light on a national problem and provide a lifeline to those most in need.

“As a council, we want to lead the way and ensure that the well-being of residents is safeguarded, the work that has been carried out underlines the borough’s vision that we will no longer tolerate or accept any form of domestic abuse.”

In addition to the dedicated helpline, counselling will be available for victims and families, along with community workers on hand to support victims and signposting them to weekly drop-in sessions which facilitate long term recovery and prevention.

The statistics behind domestic abuse show the urgent need to provide more care and support.

Nationally, nearly one million women experience at least one incident of domestic violence and abuse each year and one in six to seven men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, while 76% of all domestic violence and abuse incidents are repeat incidents.

This latest forward-thinking preventative approach builds upon work already undertaken in the borough such as emergency refuge provision, the creation of specialist safeguarding roles within the hospital setting and the development of Operation Strive supporting low risk victims and families.

Earlier this year, a new domestic abuse policy was also launched by Wigan Council which hopes to provide a blueprint for organisations in safeguarding the health and well-being of employees across the borough.

The launch of the domestic abuse policy is to recognise the seriousness of domestic abuse and the impact it has on the lives and wellbeing of those affected.  It is centred around three key principles of care, consider and enable.

The document recognises that each case will be different from another and provides a range of tools to support staff and managers.

Anyone wishing to ring the dedicated domestic abuse helpline can call 01942 311365 between 7am- 7pm, Monday to Friday.