Women who have been affected by domestic abuse will be offered help at a new counselling service.
Humanitarian charity Penny Appeal, which is based in Wakefield, has launched the service for women aged over 18 who have suffered any kind of domestic, family or sexual abuse.
An all female team of counsellors will be on hand to provide safe and confidential support with an initial 10-week course of therapy which can be extended if necessary.
Women who need help will be referred to the service by GPs, other health professionals and organisations, and those affected will also be able to contact the domestic abuse counselling scheme for help directly.
Latest figures show crimes against women in England and Wales are at a record level, up 10 per cent on this time last year.
On average, police respond to a domestic violence-related call every 30 seconds.
Penny Appeal said domestic abuse often remained hidden because victims feel shame, stigma or that they have nobody they can turn to.
Adeem Younis, chairman of Penny Appeal, said: “We are dedicated to supporting hard to reach, disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, and taking a stand against domestic abuse is a key priority for our UK Programmes Department.
“Therapy plays a really important part in enabling abuse victims to heal from their experiences, and I’m extremely proud that our counselling service can be a platform to support and empower women.”
Wakefield MP Mary Creagh was among speakers at a launch event on Monday at Wakefield Town Hall.
She said: “I was delighted to attend the launch of the Penny Appeal’s new service.
“Women who are victims of domestic abuse are often isolated from friends and family, and services like those provided by the Domestic, Family and Sexual Abuse Counselling Service mean that there is a safe space where they can speak without fear of judgement about what they are going through.”
Ms Creagh said cuts to housing benefit by the government could lead to two out of every three women’s refuges being forced to close down.
She added: “Without vital services like shelters and counselling, the reality is more women will be killed and more families traumatised by domestic abuse.”
International charity Penny Appeal has already set up a similar counselling scheme in London.
The new service in Wakefield is part of a UK-wide Penny Appeal project to intervene earlier in cases of domestic abuse and help women escape abusive relationships.
For more information about the Penny Appeal’s Domestic Abuse Counselling service, or to donate to it, click here or call 03000 111111.
People affected by domestic or sexual abuse can contact Penny Appeal for help by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 07480 970097.