There is a way out of abusive relationships said the Interim Chief Executive of Nexus NI who is encouraging people who may be experiencing domestic or sexual abuse to take the next step and get help by calling the Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline.
Nexus NI Interim CEO, Karen Gallagher said for many victims of domestic and sexual abuse, often the first step is to lift the phone to call a helpline to get support. A new three year contract has been awarded to Nexus NI to provide and manage a 24 hour helpline service from next week.
The service will be operational from 1 April 2019 and will be known as the Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline. The contract was awarded by the Department for Communities, the Department of Health and the Department of Justice.
Ms Gallagher said: "Domestic and sexual abuse knows no boundaries. No gender, age-group, no sexual orientation, no class or creed is immune from attacks and abuse. For any man or woman, young or old, the fully trained staff at the Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline are there to listen and offer support and advice 24 hours a day, every day.
"Victims of domestic and sexual abuse can often feel isolated, with no one to turn to, so we are pleased that this helpline can continue to give them the support that they need. We want people to know they are not alone and help is a phone call away. It is essential that as many people as possible have access to support to ensure the right measures are being taken to keep them and their families safe."
The helpline is a completely free and confidential service and you can get in touch by calling 0808 802 1414.
The helpline was previously run by Women's Aid Federation Northern Ireland who will continue to manage the existing service until 31 March 2019.
A Department of Health spokesman said: "We would like to thank Women's Aid for their successful running of the helpline and would like to pay tribute to the staff and volunteers who have provided a vital and high quality service for victims of domestic and sexual abuse allowing a smooth transition with the continued use of the helpline telephone number."
Notes to editors:
1. The award of contract follows an open tender competition.
2. From 1 April 2019 the service will be delivered by Nexus, in partnership with the three funding Departments.
3. The redesigned website, as well as new Twitter and Facebook accounts, can be accessed from 1 April 2019 at www.dsahelpline.org.
4. Nexus is a charity which offers services and support to people who have been affected by sexual violence across Northern Ireland. These services include: supporting victims via specialist counselling, educating young people, training professionals and campaigning to change the myths and misconceptions that exist around sexual violence in society.
5. For media queries please contact the Department of Health Press Office team on 028 9052 0575 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt
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