A confidential service launched by Merton Council, Safer Merton and partners last year to help victims of domestic violence is celebrating its first birthday this week with the news that it has already helped 100 people in the borough.
Merton’s ‘One Stop Shop’ is a confidential service for people experiencing domestic violence or abuse in Merton. It brings together key agencies under one roof at a specific time every week to try and help those dealing with violence in the home. Whether housing, police, victim support, health, legal advice or other issues, the clients can discreetly ask for advice as and when they need it.
In its first year 100 clients have been through the doors of the One Stop Shop getting advice ranging from how to report incidents to looking at other housing options.
One client who was suffering severe violence at the hands of her partner came to the centre with her young child to seek help but spoke very little English and didn’t know where to turn. The Citizens Advice Bureau called in a translator and the various agencies worked together to get her and her child away from the situation and into a safe hospice within the same week. Although there is a long way to go things are already looking up for the client. She has escaped the violence she was facing and her child is back attending school.
On Monday 12 September the One Stop Shop celebrated its first birthday with clients and agencies coming together for a coffee morning.
Councillor Edith Macauley, Merton Council cabinet member for community safety, engagement and equalities said:
” It is thought that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men suffer domestic violence every year in the UK and so bringing the One Stop Shop service to the borough for some of our most vulnerable residents has been an excellent achievement for the Safer Merton partnership and everyone involved.”
Councillor Maxi Martin, Domestic Violence Champion for Merton added:
” Although the One Stop Shop has only been going for one year, helping 100 people make that first step towards positive change is something to be very proud of. Hopefully the success of the service will raise awareness and encourage more people dealing with issues of abuse or violence to come forward and get the help they need.”