‘Life-saving’ domestic abuse charity gets funding boost

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Lord Mayor

Hundreds of female victims of domestic abuse will receive ‘life-saving’ mental health support thanks to new funding for a specialist charity.

Woman’s Trust will offer 4,000 free counselling sessions, 240 support group and 600 workshop places, thanks to a £200,000 grant from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.

The charity is the only organisation in London whose sole focus is on offering free counselling and therapy to women from across the capital who have experienced domestic abuse and violence.

It says the funding will help it cope with an expected surge in referrals once coronavirus restrictions are lifted, exposing the toll taken on women who have endured enforced confinement with an abusive partner.

Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said: “Domestic abuse is a hidden crime because it happens in the home and because victims are often gradually isolated from friends and family through the controlling actions of their abuser.

“This funding will enable Woman’s Trust to help even more women across London tackle the impact on their mental health resulting from their experiences, to boost their confidence and to rebuild their lives.”

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Woman’s Trust offers specialist one-to-one counselling sessions, small therapy support groups and self-development workshops to help women overcome the lasting impact of domestic abuse and violence.

Around 84% of its clients say they feel highly isolated and 40% have considered suicide. Domestic abuse is also the single largest cause of depression in UK women, with over 60% of survivors experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Heidi Riedel, Woman’s Trust CEO, said: “Often we help women who have left their abusive partner years before but they’re still suffering from the trauma, isolation and depression caused by their experience – they just didn’t have a name for it or know they could get specialist help.

“If someone is made to feel unworthy, insignificant, unintelligent, unattractive, scared or isolated on a daily basis, it has a cumulative impact and it affects their self-esteem, their ability to work, their future relationships and their relationships with their children. Without the right support, many women live with the effects of abuse for years – even decades.

“Being able to talk to someone who understands but doesn’t judge, who helps them to rediscover their self-worth and to understand it’s not their fault – it can literally be life-saving.”

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