Volunteers wanted for Havant-based domestic violence service

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt

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VOLUNTEERS are being sought for a new service to provide support to victims of domestic violence out of hours.

New Dawn is a volunteer-led project based in Havant which will provide a service to victims on Friday and Saturday evenings – a time when tempers can flare and incidents can occur.

At the moment, from 4pm on a Friday, until 9am on a Monday, there is no local support available for victims, unless they call a national helpline, or call 999, if their life is in immediate danger.

But the new service will be available locally. Now, staff at Aurora New Dawn, which created the service, are looking for volunteers to work at least four hours a month, taking referrals from victims and providing support.

Lyn Tiller, volunteer coordinator at Aurora New Dawn, said: ‘If we get in there early, people are more likely to engage than if somebody mentions it to them at the weekend.

‘They tend to drop out of the process quite early. It’s about getting in there right at the beginning.

‘Things do tend to flare up more at the weekends.

‘If the police get sent out to a house somewhere where there has been an incident, they might arrest a perpetrator. The police can explain to the victim who we are. We know the perpetrator will be out of the picture for a few hours – that’s when the victim is feeling most vulnerable.’

The service provides support to victims across Portsmouth, Havant, Fareham and Gosport.

Volunteers would have to undertake a short interview.

The role would involve a period of training, taking referrals, contacting clients and providing a level of emotional support. If the service is a success and they get enough volunteers, they will be looking to expand the service to include Saturday and Sunday day times.

‘If we speak to them at the beginning when they are feeling quite vulnerable, then they are aware of it,’ added Lyn. ‘Hopefully it will increase their safety and support them in moving forward.

‘It’s just an awareness of what’s out there and what people are going through.

‘We are offering support to people. We aren’t a counselling service but we do want to support people.’

Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to call Lyn on (023) 9247 9254.