by Citizens Advice Peterborough
Last year one in every 15 women and one in every 33 men experienced domestic abuse at the hands of their partner/former partner.
Family and friends can be a lifeline of support for victims of domestic abuse in Peterborough. Those suffering from domestic abuse may feel unable to reach out for help themselves, so people who want to support them need to know the steps they can take and where they can get specialist help.
Every year Citizens Advice helps more than 5,000 victims of domestic abuse. Many victims of domestic abuse initially sought help from us for related problems like debt or housing, rather than about the abuse itself. Domestic abuse is often one part of a bigger problem which affects multiple issues – so it’s unrealistic to resolve everything at once.
Working with a multi-agency approach to tackle domestic abuse is vital as it ensures that people are supported not only as victims of domestic abuse, but also around issues that can arise as a result, such as housing, debt, income and concerns over children and prosecution.
We (Citizens Advice Peterborough) work with partner agencies to support victims with housing, benefits, employment and debt issues, while Cambridgeshire Constabulary and partners work to help and support those experiencing domestic abuse and bring perpetrators of domestic abuse to justice.
In the spring of 2015, a middle aged mother of two came into Citizens Advice Peterborough with a benefit enquiry. It was quickly identified that she was a long suffering victim of domestic abuse, and did not know what options she had, or where she could go for help.
We worked with the client, giving her all the possible options available to her, such as benefit entitlement, living accommodation options and support from other agencies, and made her aware of her rights concerning the children. She was also provided with emergency helpline contacts and her initial benefit enquiry resolved.
A few months later the client came back to us, for help with a different matter and told us that, as a result of our identifying domestic abuse and giving her all the options available to her, she had fled the dangerous situation and was much happier and safer.
We are one of many local Citizens Advice services pioneering a programme which aims to identify people who are victims of domestic abuse. Our staff and volunteers are trained and supported to identify instances of domestic abuse with a simple but sensitive approach during face-to-face advice. The staff and volunteers are then able to provide support and advice to those who are experiencing, or have experienced, any occurrences of domestic abuse. The pilot of this programme in 2013 led to an 800% rise in the number of people who told Citizens Advice they were experiencing a form of domestic abuse.
We are joining the ‘Talk About Abuse’ and ‘Domestic Abuse Awareness’ campaigns so we can help people know how to recognise abuse, talk about it safely, enable victims to make the right decisions for themselves. If you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse, or you are concerned someone you know might be in an abusive relationship, you can seek help by calling confidential freephone helplines. You can also get face to face help and support by visiting Citizens Advice Peterborough.
Remember, no one should have to put up with domestic abuse. Ever.
Below is a message from a victim who has received support from Citizens Advice:
“I would like to say to anyone suffering domestic violence – there is help out there and you will be believed. I would say get support and make yourself safe.
And, I would say to someone who suspects that their family member or friend is being abused – that person needs all the support you can possibly give them.”
If you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse, or you are concerned someone you know might be in an abusive relationship, you can seek help by calling the following confidential helplines:
- For advice, support and options for all victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence call Specialist Abuse Services Peterborough (SASP) on 01733 55 22 00 or 89 44 55
- Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) covering the whole of Cambridgeshire. They can provide care, help and support for anyone who has experienced sexual assault, abuse, rape or sexual violence. Call their helpline on 0845 089 6262
- If the victim is a woman, she can get help from the freephone, 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 (run in partnership by Refuge and Women’s Aid)
- If the victim is a man, he can get help from the Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327
- If the victim is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, they can get specialised help from Broken Rainbow on 0300 999 5428
You can also come to our drop-in to seek help around domestic abuse us at 16-17 St. Mark’s Street, Peterborough, PE1 2TU. Open Monday-Friday from 9am -12noon and 1pm-4pm.
Alternatively you can contact our Adviceline which is available from 10am-4pm Monday to Friday on 0344 499 4120. Calls are charged at 5p per minute from BT landlines, other network operators may charge more and mobile networks may be considerably more. At busy times your call may be routed to the national Citizens Advice Adviceline.