Portsmouth councillors launch drop-in sessions for victims of domestic abuse

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THE bid to make Portsmouth the flagship city for the awareness of domestic violence has taken a major step forward.

Councillors are launching drop-in advice sessions for victims and anyone who wants help supporting someone going through a turbulent time.

Domestic violence doesn’t always need to physical, many suffer months or years of verbal or emotional abuse.

Cosham Tory councillor Hannah Hockaday

Tory councillor Gemma New is holding her first one-to-one surgery at Paulsgrove Housing Office on Saturday, November 7, from midday to 2pm.

Everyone’s identity will be kept private and information shared will remain confidential.

Cllr New wants to listen to people’s experiences, share advice and point victims in the direction of professional help.

It comes after Portsmouth City Council launched a drive with Havant-based refuge Southern Domestic Abuse Service to support perpetrators of violence and get them out of the cycle of abuse.

Cllr New said: ‘I feel that it will be good to be able to put out there that there is help available; that nobody is on their own, and that there is no need to worry as everything will be treated in confidence.

‘It’s a big enough issue in Portsmouth to make a stand about.’

No appointments need to be made in advance and people can turn up on the day.

Cosham Tory councillor Hannah Hockaday also plans to hold a session in her ward in the coming weeks.

She said: ‘Having been through a domestic violent situation myself, I understand the trauma this causes to people and this is a subject close to my heart.

‘Domestic violence doesn’t always need to be physical, as many suffer months or years of verbal or emotional abuse. People suffering feel trapped not always knowing who to turn to, especially if they don’t have friends or family to support them.’

Ukip Fratton councillor Julie Swan has already spoken publicly about her struggle in an abusive relationship.