Local help in Dearne communities for domestic and sexual abuse victims

AROUND 170 residents in just part of the Dearne area have needed help from a domestic abuse charity in the last year, and improved services may now follow.
Assistance: Dearne communities get local help over domestic abuseAssistance: Dearne communities get local help over domestic abuse
Assistance: Dearne communities get local help over domestic abuse

The IDAS charity, or Independent Domestic Abuse Services, works in the district and is hoping to enrol volunteers to help expand its work.

IDAS is the largest service of its type in Yorkshire and works across Barnsley, alongside other agencies including the Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Service, and provides community-based support in Goldthorpe, meaning those referred there for help had easy access.

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Specialists from IDAS also have the facility to see clients in doctors’ surgeries, opening up further potential for easy access.

Barnsley Council’s Dearne Area Council, a body made up of councillors representing the Dearne North and South wards, have been given details about the services available to residents in those areas.

In addition to locations in the community, those needing help also have the option of visiting a secure base at the Alhambra shopping centre, in Barnsley town centre, and for those who need it, a refuge is operated elsewhere in Barnsley, with accommodation also available in Sheffield.

Domestic abuse has been increasingly acknowledged as a problem in recent years and Lucy Cafrello, from IDAS, met councillors to explain the issues and the work they do to help.

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Those affected by domestic violence and sexual abuse can access support through a confidential helpline, with both practical and emotional support available, but IDAS also provides training for other professionals.

Over the last year in Barnsley, 1,670 clients had been given help, she said, including men and women.

Technology and social media are now regarded as issues which can make problems worse, including the availability of devices which ‘listen’ to conversations.

It is now hoped the service can be expanded in future, possibly through the use of volunteers, who may be willing to open up their homes to victims of abuse.

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Further work alongside other organisations is also a possibility, with IDAS already co-operating with the Salvation Army and Age UK.

A report said: “It was noted that some people did not recognise some kinds of behaviour, including emotional pressure, as abuse until this was pointed out to them.”

It is now hoped IDAS may be able to attend events organised through Dearne Area Council.

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