We're the new provider for domestic abuse services in Somerset

05 December 2014

We will be providing Domestic Abuse Services for Somerset County Council from 13 January 2015.

We were approved after a rigorous tendering process by the County Council and key partners, including district councils and the police, to ensure we can fully meet the needs of those affected by domestic abuse.

We will provide a mixture of emergency accommodation across the county for men and women who want to flee domestic abuse. This includes a combination of refuge and safe-house properties and 24 hour emergency access to accommodation.

We will be working in partnership with Barnardo’s to work with children and young people who are affected by domestic abuse and offer parenting support programmes. Women will also be able to access group support.

Male perpetrators of domestic abuse will also be given the opportunity to change their attitudes and behaviour through a dedicated work programme.

Cllr Christine Lawrence, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Our priority will always be to offer protection and support to the people affected by domestic abuse. Domestic abuse can affect everyone – whether directly through being in an abusive relationship, or through witnessing a friend or relative experiencing abuse.  It can affect people of all ages – children to the elderly. I look forward to working with Knightstone to ensure the safety and the wellbeing of everyone affected by domestic abuse is put first when delivering services.”

Sonia Furzland, our Assistant Director of Supported Housing said: “Together with Barnardo’s, our partner in delivering these services we have substantial experience of supporting victims of domestic abuse. We’re delighted to have been successful in winning this contract with the Council. We’ll be working closely with clients and stakeholders to ensure that the transition from old service to new service is seamless. Supporting victims of domestic abuse and their children to live safe and stable lives is our key objective and we look forward to building upon the services already delivered in Somerset.”

Bournemouth Churches Housing Association (BCHA) have been delivering the Council’s Domestic Abuse Services for the last year, on an interim contract, and will be working closely with Knightstone and the Council to ensure people accessing services are unaffected by the changes.

Cllr Lawrence added: “I would like to thank everyone at BCHA for their dedication over the past year and all their work in continuing this important service.”

Anyone affected by domestic abuse should still phone the DAFFS (Domestic Abuse Freephone Support) helpline 0800 69 49 999 or visit www.somersetsurvivors.org.uk for a list of other phone numbers and advice. In an emergency call 999.

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