Victims of domestic abuse including men will now have just one number to call as the county council expands its helpline service.
Previously, victims calling Derbyshire Domestic Abuse Helpline could be passed onto other agencies depending on their assessed level of risk and men would be referred to another number.
Now all services have been brought together under the existing helpline meaning victims only have to make one call whatever their circumstances or gender.
Last year Derbyshire police received more than 12,300 reports of domestic abuse and nationally one in four women and one in six men will experience abuse at some point in their lives.
Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for health and communities Councillor Dave Allen said: “Domestic abuse is a crime where victims can often suffer in silence because they’re trapped in a cycle of fear and find it very difficult to ask for help.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for them to get the support they need and hope the changes to our helpline will reassure victims they’ll get straight through to a trained professional to get the help they need whatever their risk or gender and will not be passed around. The helpline has been providing invaluable support to residents over the last nine years and we want to make sure it continues to meet their specific needs.”
The helpline, delivered by voluntary organisation, Action, is funded as part of the council’s £1.4m domestic abuse service budget with £85,000 from Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
Services are provided by charities Trident Reach, Derbyshire Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Services, Crossroads Derbyshire and Nottingham Community Housing Association’s support service, Derbyshire WISH.
The service will also offer advice and support to professionals and other agencies dealing with domestic abuse issues. The council will continue to offer emergency accommodation and support for women, men and children experiencing domestic abuse.
Residents can call the free confidential Derbyshire Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 0198 668. For information, visit www.saferderbyshire.gov.uk/our-priorities/domestic-abuse