Big Lottery funding to help domestic violence victims in West Norfolk

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Women and girls who have suffered years of misery due to domestic abuse will soon be able to turn to a new service which will be launched in West Norfolk.

Domestic violence and abuse service Leeway is now recruiting three extra support workers to provide important help for victims over the next five years thanks to a £606,315 Big Lottery Grant.

The service is looking to fill a major gap in the area after seeing an increase in calls for help.

In 2013 to 2014, Leeway provided direct support to 128 women while 183 were given advice over the phone.

But in 2014 to 2015, the service received 236 phone inquiries and its workers gave direct support to 144 women and girls.

Community services manager Margaret Hill is hoping that the service is going to make a huge difference as early intervention can save lives.

She said: “Nationally two women a week are killed by a partner or an ex-partner.

“It can take 35 incidents before women will start to talk about what is going on.

“And if you don’t get a good response initially, it can several more incidents before she will disclose again.

“If there are children, they can be exposed to further incidents and they can start to see this behaviour as normal.

“By getting a service out there, we will be able to reach people early before there is an escalation.”

Leeway is hoping to have three new workers on the ground at the end of July. They will be based at Leeway shelters in Breckland and West Norfolk.

They will be raising awareness in rural areas along with providing one-to-one support for women and girls.

Chief executive Mandy Proctor said: “We are delighted to secure this Big Lottery investment, which will enable us to respond to the varying levels of support required by women and girls living with or leaving domestic abuse particularly in our more isolated rural communities. The new team will be able to work with hundreds more women and girls to ensure their long term safety and well-being as well as to empower them to make positive changes to their lives for the benefit of themselves and their family.”

Geeta Gopalan, of Big Lottery Fund said: ““I am delighted that we can use money raised through National Lottery players to go back into the community and help young girls and women most in need.”

Anyone experiencing domestic violence can contact Leeway’s 24-hour helpline on 0300 5610077.