23 December 2016

A helpline for people affected by domestic abuse, which took more than 2,000 calls last year, is extending its hours from January.

From Tuesday, 3 January, the helpline will run from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday. It is also open on week days over the Christmas period from 8am to 6pm, except on Bank Holidays.

Call the helpline for free on 0808 808 2241 or email help@sheffielddact.org.uk

Rosy from Sheffield* suffered 13 years of domestic abuse from her then husband. She said: “Don’t suffer in silence. I did because I didn’t know where to go, but there’s always someone there to help.”

Rosy left her husband and now uses a wheelchair due to the physical abuse she suffered. She explained: “I grew up without a dad so I knew what it was like not to have one. So I just put up with it but then he hit my five year old son, and that was that.

“When we started off we were great together. But he was a drinker and things changed after we got married. He used to say that I put on certain tops or skirts just to make men look at me.

“He beat me so badly that I miscarried and my spine is so damaged that I’m now in a wheelchair. I was just numb. I used to stand there and let him beat me.

“I didn’t get help from anyone at the time. I was too ashamed to tell anyone. I thought it was just something happening to me.

“Now I’ve left him and I’m away from it all I feel on top of the world. I regret not doing it years ago but I didn’t know. I’ve got my life and my kids and that’s all that matters to me. Don’t suffer in silence like I did.”

The helpline service is run by Action Domestic Abuse Services and funded by Sheffield City Council.

Specialist workers listen and offer advice and information about the services and choices available to people. They also have access to interpreters for people who do not have English as a first language and provide advice to agencies who are aware that someone they’re working with is experiencing domestic abuse.

Councillor Cate McDonald, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care at Sheffield City Council, said: “There is support for people experiencing domestic abuse in Sheffield – both men and women – and I urge people to get help.

“Sadly domestic abuse affects many people and we don’t want them to suffer alone. People like Rosy have been able to escape their abuse and are now living happier lives. That’s what we want for more people and I hope the extended helpline hours mean more people can take the steps towards this.”

It is estimated that around 20,000 adults and 12,000 children are affected by domestic abuse in Sheffield each year. Services usually see an increase in referrals around the holiday season.

A range of support services are available in Sheffield including support groups, one to one support, counselling services and refuge places.

Further information is available at www.sheffielddact.org.uk. Call the helpline for free on 0808 808 2241 or email help@sheffielddact.org.uk

* Not Rosy’s real name