Speaking to a domestic abuse support agency
You can find free local help and support from specialist agencies by contacting your local council, or the police. There are many services across Cheshire and staff will listen to your situation in a compassionate and non-judgmental way. They will help you to figure out what is best for you and your family, and give you advice and guidance on what your options are.
Domestic abuse support agencies are staffed by specialist workers, who will work with you to help you to decide what action you may want to take, and how to access the support and help that feels right for you. The services exist to provide support to anybody who is a victim or survivor of domestic abuse.
You can be referred to the service by:
- the police, following a reported incident of domestic abuse
- another agency, e.g. housing, health, social care
- friends or family
- yourself, by contacting them directly
There are a number of services available and, at every stage of the process, you’ll be given an opportunity to talk to staff about your situation, and agree what support you might need. Staff will work with you in a non-judgmental way to develop a safety plan to protect you and your children, to help plan what you might do in the case of future violence or abuse. Just by contacting them for a chat, it can help you think about how you can improve your safety within the relationship, or if you decide to leave.
Refuge accommodation is available if it isn’t safe for you to remain living at home. A refuge is a safe house where you, and your children if you have any, can stay free from fear. If you need to escape from domestic abuse, you can go into a refuge at any time. It doesn’t matter if you are married to or living with your abuser, or whether or not you have children. There are also refuges which accept male victims and their children.
Staff from your refuge will support you to move on to safe, independent housing when you are ready, and it’s safe to do so.
Reporting a crime
Domestic abuse services would not necessarily inform the police if you didn’t want to pursue a criminal case. However this may change if there are safeguarding concerns, but any decision would always be discussed with you to try to achieve a positive outcome.
If you choose to report the crime, Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs) can support you through the criminal justice system if you choose to report the crime, and will work with you to coordinate any additional support services you may need.
Both refuge staff and IDVAs can give you information and advice about benefits and housing, provide emotional support or refer you on for counselling if appropriate.
Find free support
There’s lots of support available across Cheshire to help you open the door. Don’t suffer in silence, talk to someone who can help. Find free support from specialist domestic abuse agencies, your local police, local council or the National Domestic Violence Helpline.