Marvin Rees: ‘Many women in Bristol are still living in fear’

Victims of domestic abuse and violence in Bristol are to get up to seven new safe houses as part of an initiative by the Safer Bristol Partnership.

The houses, which can hold up to 38 families, will also include a dedicated house for black and ethnic minority women and children.

Next Link, who are providing the service, have been commissioned by Bristol City Council to deliver improvements to existing services in the city.

These include:

  • Outreach support services for 650 women living in the community to decrease risk from domestic violence and abuse
  • Support to children – individual support plans for each child and help to settle into school or nursery
  • Advocacy support for victim’s going through the Criminal Justice System to seek redress or safety measures

Marvin Rees, who was at the launch of the new initiative, said: “I am really pleased that Next Link has launched this new enhanced service to support victims of domestic abuse.”

“It is a tragedy that many women in Bristol are still living in fear and we have to do everything we can to make sure gender-based violence, abuse or exploitation is not accepted.”

“We need to work together to support women and give them the skills and opportunities to rebuild their lives. Ultimately we must aim to eliminate this kind of abuse from our homes and communities.”

According to Next Link a domestic abuse call is made to the police every 30 seconds.

Carol Metters, who is the Chief Executive of Next link Domestic Abuse Services said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to continue to deliver this much needed service for the victims of domestic abuse across Bristol.

“Domestic abuse is one of the biggest causes of homelessness for women, and we know that they sometimes have experienced multiple and complex problems including mental health and substance misuse issues.”

“It is important that women who are experiencing domestic abuse know that it is not their fault and there is help available to make them safe.”

One witness of domestic abuse, who has chosen to remain anonymous, sees the benefit in this new scheme but knows there are always going to be underlying issues:

Next Link has also said that 95% of families they housed did not return to their violent partner.

If you feel you have been affected by a form of domestic abuse or violence but aren’t sure of the signs, Next Link have the following information:

Domestic abuse can be:

Physical – including being hit, kicked or attacked.

Emotional – being called names, put down, made to feel bad.

Sexual – having to be sexual when you don’t want to.

Financial – when someone takes or controls your money.

Source: Living Without Abuse

From 1 August Next Link domestic abuse telephone help lines are open 8:30 – 17:30 Monday – Friday
9:30 – 13:00 on Saturday  0117 925 0680.


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