New service launched to help Southampton domestic abuse victims

A NEW service to support to women and children at risk of, or dealing with, domestic violence has launched with the backing of more than £90,000 government funding.

Domestic Abuse Support+ (DAS+) has been set up by specialist supported housing provider Stonewater with cash from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Over 3,000 domestic violence cases were recorded by Hampshire Constabulary in 2017 to 2018 with domestic violence accounting for 30% of all recorded violent crime in Southampton. The levels of reported domestic violence have risen for four consecutive years, with a 7% rise recorded between these years, according to an inquiry by the Scrutiny Inquiry Panel in 2019.

On the 25th of November 2020, we honour white ribbon day, a global campaign to end domestic violence.

DAS+ can help by guiding people in need of support to specialist domestic abuse services and help with housing needs for those struggling to find or keep accommodation.

Denise Burtenshaw-Phillips, Customer Experience Manager in Supported Housing at Stonewater, said: “While more must be done to tackle the root of domestic abuse and stimulate long-term solutions, these statistics show there is a huge need for more specialist support provision now more than ever as the coronavirus crisis increases the risk of isolation.”

In an interview with the Daily Echo, Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith said: “This new support service is very welcome and a further step towards keeping people safe and eradicating the scourge of domestic abuse. At a time when domestic abuse cases are increasing during the lockdown, we must all be extra vigilant in spotting the signs of victims of domestic abuse.”

Hampshire County council has been using social media to connect with residents throughout the county

Events to support and inform people will be held online this year due to covid-19. Charity organisers reckon an increase in domestic violence cases was seen during the first lockdown.

The White Ribbon charity released a lockdown toolkit for men who are concerned for their behaviour or the behaviour of others, stating: “Lockdown is no excuse for sexist and abusive behaviour towards women either physically or online.”

The White Ribbon campaign began in 1991 as a response to the Montreal massacre, in which 14 women died in a mass shooting. The shooter justified the murders in the act of ‘Fighting feminism.’

The charity stated: “Our mission is for all men to fulfil the White Ribbon Promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women. We act as a catalyst, encouraging people, and especially men and boys, to individually and collectively take action and change behaviour.”

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic abuse, seek help. Call Hampshire Domestic Abuse Service 03300 165112. In an emergency, call 999.

By Hannah De Boltz (@hannah_boltz)