16th December 2021
|Domestic abuse support available in Sandwell this Christmas|
Support is available in Sandwell this Christmas if you are experiencing domestic abuse, or you are worried about someone who is.
Christmas can be stressful for victims living with abusive partners, as families are together for an extended period of time and existing domestic abuse can intensify. Tensions can escalate as household budgets are stretched, and more alcohol might be consumed than usual – all of which are factors that can increase abuse for victims.
Support is available to victims and families, as well as for those who are behaving in an abusive way and want to change.
Black Country Women’s Aid (BCWA) provides a full range of services and support to female and male victims of all ages, including those from LGBTQ+ communities, people with disabilities, and all ethnicities and backgrounds who are experiencing domestic abuse.
If you don’t feel safe in your home, BCWA can offer victims with or without children secure and supportive safe accommodation for people who need to leave their homes because of domestic abuse. They can also find you refuge space elsewhere in the country if you choose.
If you do not want to leave your home, help is available to find you the appropriate services that you can access in the community.
You can call BCWA 24 hours a day on 0121 552 6448.
You can also contact BCWA via webchat and WhatsApp on 07384 466181.
For more information, visit www.blackcountrywomensaid.co.uk
Ask Marc provides specialist confidential practical and emotional support for men and boys who have experienced domestic abuse, rape and sexual abuse. This includes one-to-one and telephone support; access to counselling; help to report issues to the police; support at court; and support groups.
Contact Ask Marc by phone (0121 289 6402), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit www.askmarc.org.uk for more information.
Birmingham LGBT Centre can also provide a range of support services for LGBT victims. 0121 643 0821 or visit: www.blgbt.org
Sandwell Council also provides support to access safe accommodation for victims and their children who may find themselves at risk of homeless due to domestic abuse. Sandwell Council Housing Team will be available throughout Christmas and can be contacted on 0121 368 1166. For more information if you are homeless or at risk of losing your home, visit www.sandwell.gov.uk/homeless
Anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse can also get help at their GP practice, where there are dedicated advocates whose role is to provide information, advice and support, and empower victims of domestic abuse.
Dr Ian Sykes, local GP and chair of the Sandwell Commissioning Board, said: “Your GP surgery is a safe space where support is available to anyone experiencing domestic abuse. GP practices in Sandwell have access to expert advocates who can advise on personal safety, as well as important matters such as housing, legal and welfare rights and signposting into therapeutic support such as counselling.
“If you don’t feel safe about asking for help or advice, you can ask to speak to a domestic abuse advocate during any routine appointment with any healthcare professional at your practice, and your request will be treated in the strictest confidence.”
Domestic abuse advocates will be available throughout the Christmas and New Year period to support any male or female victims of domestic abuse.
Always call 999 if you are in immediate danger.
If you think you may be behaving in an abusive way towards your partner or family and want to change, confidential advice and support to help you stop being abusive is available from the Respect phoneline which offers help for domestic abuse perpetrators who want to change. Call freephone 0808 802 4040 or visit respectphoneline.org.uk
Councillor Bob Piper, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “Domestic violence or abuse can happen to anyone, and anyone can be an abuser. Sandwell Council works with a range of partners throughout the year to help those experiencing domestic abuse.
“If domestic abuse is happening to you, even at Christmas, it’s important that that you tell someone – like Black Country Women’s Aid, Ask Marc or the council. Remember you’re not alone: we’re here to support you. You don’t have to wait for an emergency situation to find help.”
More information about domestic abuse is available at www.sandwell.gov.uk/domesticabuse