Conservative led Wiltshire Council is working closely with charity Splitz so people in Wiltshire who need to escape abuse and make positive life changes are supported when they need help.
Wiltshire Council is conducting a review of domestic abuse services to ensure victims continue to receive support across the county.
As part of the ongoing review, and in response to the national domestic abuse bill, Wiltshire Council will be investing to ensure local support is effective, and also using government funding for victims of domestic abuse and their families.
The council already works closely with charity Splitz so people in Wiltshire who need to escape abuse and make positive life changes are supported when they need help.
Splitz supports victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence, and children and young people impacted by domestic abuse, and carries out interventions to support perpetrators and provide safe accommodation for victims and their children. During the pandemic and beyond Splitz has adapted its services and continues to deliver a high level of service to those in need. The volume of self-referrals into Splitz has increased by 50% during the pandemic, which shows that vulnerable people do know how and where to access local help. Currently Splitz receives around 60 to 70 referrals each week for support.
Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service supports victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence through a dedicated 24 hour helpline and a purpose built refuge for adults and their families. As with Splitz and the national trend, demands on their services have risen dramatically during the pandemic.
Last year partners agreed for Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire Police to jointly fund an additional out of hours service to the Wilshire Council area with Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service (SWA) during lockdowns as a temporary measure. This service was provided in addition to the Emergency Duty Service, an out of hours service provided by Wiltshire Council and the national domestic abuse helpline.
Calls were low to this additional new service and it was jointly agreed to end the temporary arrangement and review how the money was spent, as referrals into Splitz had increased. However, since that decision a very small number of calls from across the county are still being received by SWA. As such it will continue to offer the out of hours service to support victims from across Wiltshire in addition to the services already being provided for residents in Swindon. This will be provided without any additional funding while the review takes place.
Conservative Cllr Simon Jacobs, Cabinet Member for Public Health said:
Along with our partners we regularly review our domestic abuse services to ensure they are meeting the need and we are investing to ensure local support is available. We have seen increased calls to Splitz and we want people to be reassured there is support and help out there.
We welcome this kind offer from SWA to provide this additional out of hours service while this review is under way. We want to understand the local needs and demands of those populations that may be impacted by domestic abuse and we are using all this information to help inform and build the future service.
Across the country domestic abuse support services have seen increases in calls from domestic abuse victims, no matter what gender or sexuality.
We are really pleased to be able to continue to provide the out of hours support, via our helpline, to the whole of Wiltshire in the same way we help residents in Swindon.
People in Wiltshire outside of Swindon who want to come forward for support can contact Splitz on 01225 775 776 Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm
SWA is available 24/7 for Swindon on 01793 610610 and out of hours for the rest of Wiltshire.
For out of hours there is also the Wiltshire Emergency Duty Service which is available on 0300 456 0100.
For general support the 24/7 national Domestic Abuse helpline is available 0808 2000 247.