West Cumbria Domestic Violence Support was set up by Shirley Williams, Carole Launder and Susan James in 1997. Initially it was established to provide counselling and support to adult victims of domestic abuse in Copeland and Allerdale but now includes work with perpetrators of domestic abuse and children.
Clients are offered a flexible, free of charge support package called the Freedom Project, which consists of one-to-one counselling and group programmes offering training and peer support.
The aim of this project is to stop domestic abuse in West Cumbria, help survivors to move on and perpetrators to change their behaviour.
Over a three year period the project will provide information, advice and guidance to a total of 519 victims, perpetrators and children who are Copeland residents.
WCDVS also provide a helpline, staffed by volunteers, and volunteers will also provide practical support – for example accompanying a victim to court.
Carole Launder said, “West Cumbria Domestic Violence Support / Freedom Project is a much needed service in our area. Statistics tell us that domestic abuse is 5% higher in West Cumbria than the national average. It has been hard work for the past 19 years to build up an organisation from 3 people with only a mobile phone to the professional organisation it is today. Our overarching aim is to break the repeat cycle of domestic abuse in all its forms, leading to permanent changes in the wellbeing of the people of West Cumbria. Left unaddressed domestic abuse can become self-perpetuating and can be passed on for one generation to another; therefore, it is vital that we continue to work towards achieving permanent change”