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2020 Initiative Partner & Award-winning charity the Big Help Project and Merseyside Domestic Violence Service have joined together to expand the Safe Haven project, which provides emergency housing and support for individuals and families seeking refuge from domestic violence and abuse.

Funded by the Ministry of Housing, Government and Local Communities, the Safe Havens project will now offer tenants specialised support from Merseyside Domestic Violence Service, working on issues such as self-esteem, trauma counselling and therapies, to help them regain the confidence that is shattered by domestic violence and abuse.

With Liverpool refuges full to capacity and a chronic shortage of social housing, families fleeing domestic abuse and violence are often referred to refuges out of the borough. This motional and practical upheaval, and the loss of any support networks they had, can make it more likely for victims to return to the abusive situation, rather than make the break for good. By combining housing with support, and adding to the number of housing units available her in the city, Safe Haven aims to empower victims to break free for good and embrace a new life free from violence and fear.

Executive Chair of the Big Help Project Peter Mitchell said: “Domestic violence and domestic abuse is an issue that blights futures and costs lives. This funding means that we can expand Safe Havens across the city region with the confidence that not only are we meeting the practical housing need for these families and individuals, but that they will also receive the highly-specialised support from MDVS to make the break and seize their chance to live a life free of fear.”

MDVS supports people who are suffering domestic abuse with referrals for emergency refuge accommodation, counselling.

MDVS also proactively reaches out to BAME communities and the LBQT+ community to ensure that all sections of the community have access to the resources and support that they need to live a full life, free of fear. Since 2014 has delivered a ground-breaking programme working with perpetrators, focusing on the abuser taking responsibility for and managing their behaviour through developing appropriate emotional regulation techniques.

Ayla Nasuh, Project Manager at MDVS has stated that: “Home is a safe haven for many people but for those experiencing domestic violence it is the place where they are most likely to be seriously harmed or murdered than anywhere else. We know that ‘leaving and fleeing’ are the most high-risk times for women and children and the funding we have secured with The Big Help Project is going to be critical in ensuring that we save lives. Our CEO, Jacqui Nasuh and Trustees have advocated on behalf of homeless families for many years and is most reassured that women, children and young people will be safer as a result of this project’’

Peter Mitchell added: “ In the media, lockdown is wrongly said to ‘cause’ an increase in domestic violence: to be clear, the only person that ‘causes’ the violence or abuse in the abuser. However, the extra pressure has undoubtedly revealed domestic tensions and weaknesses that were previously hidden or suppressed, and we are thankful that the Government funding will give people in our region more resources as lockdown eases and people whose lives are blighted by domestic violence and abuse start to look at ways to leave. “

Osmosis Team

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