Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall visited Women’s Community Matters outreach service at Kendal Town Hall today, to see first-hand how this new pilot study is providing practical and emotional support to women experiencing crisis.
The pilot study is looking at developing ways to help women in the South Lakeland area access services more easily. The project works with female victims, including victims of domestic and sexual abuse, and offenders at risk of re-offending due to vulnerability.
Project workers complete one-to-one assessments at drop-in sessions with women and develop individual support plans which provide guidance on issues relating to housing, finance, employment, relationships, criminal justice, and mental/physical health. There are currently three Women’s Centres in Cumbria based in Barrow, Carlisle and Whitehaven.
Since the service in Kendal started in July 2021, the team have received 51 referrals from multiple organisations including Probation, Police and Mental Health. Of these referrals, 28 were related to domestic abuse, 14 for issues such as mental health and isolation, and 9 for ministry of justice. Since July 2021, over 239 face-to-face, phone and group meetings have been offered with 189 appointments having been attended, keeping engagement at 76%.
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner comments: “Putting victims first is a key priority.
“This women’s outreach service helps to empower women living in rurally isolated communities in the Kendal area, by removing some of the barriers they experience when trying to access support.
“The simple fact that those in need will no longer have to make a 90-mile round trip to access their nearest support in Barrow, can only be a good thing.
“Services such as these help to provide early interventions where they are needed most, strengthen self-esteem and improve access to support where rurality is clearly an issue.
“Providing opportunities for vulnerable women to get support, also means that fewer children will be taken into care and more women can gain access to substance misuse services. This will help to reduce demand on the police and other criminal justice services.”
Detective Chief Inspector James Yallop, Cumbria Constabulary, said:
“Outreach support services such as Women’s Community Matters can really help end the cycle of abuse.
“Any service that can help support victims, whilst addressing offending behaviour, is a positive step and bringing this service to Kendal will allow for more victims to access this vital support.
“To anyone who is victim of domestic abuse, abuse, or sexual offences, we would urge you to report them to the police.
“Your report will be treated sensitively and investigated thoroughly.
“We are here to help and will investigate any crimes that have been committed.”
Rebecca Robson, Senior Officer at Women’s Community Matters, said: “We are pleased to continue to work alongside the Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner in Cumbria and the other women’s centres to enable women across Cumbria to access support.
“It is important to us that we deliver our services with love, care, compassion and kindness. Peter and his team are a fantastic support in helping us to continue to do just that.
“Being able to base ourselves in Kendal two days a week makes it easier for women to access the help they need, when they need it most.
“South Lakeland District Council and the staff at the Town Hall provide a warm and welcoming environment and we always have plenty of tea and coffee.
“For more information or to access support, please contact Women’s Community Matters on 01229 311102.”
There are three Womens Centres across Cumbria providing a range of services. Find out more about your local centre here: Cumbria Women’s Centres by Cumbria Constabulary – Issuu
Victim support Cumbria can signpost anyone who has experienced crime to the appropriate service. To contact the service, call anytime, Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 303 0157. The national 24/7 helpline is 0808 1689 111. Victim Support can help with any time of crime including domestic abuse and give advice that is completely private. If you cannot speak, Victim Support also has a 24/7 online chat on their website, victimsupport.org.uk.