02 November 2010>
Women and men affected by drug and alcohol misuse and suffering domestic abuse are being encouraged to seek support at new sessions run by a multi-agency service.
WOMEN and men affected by drug and alcohol misuse and suffering domestic abuse are being encouraged to seek support at new sessions run by a multi-agency service.
At each session visitors will be able to speak confidentially to a support worker on a one-to-one basis, pick up free information and advice about their situation and also access a range of other services available from the MAC.
Domestic abuse is an issue that will affect one in four women during their lifetime and refers not only to physical violence but also to emotional abuse, sexual abuse, isolating someone from their family or friends or controlling them financially or with drugs or alcohol.
It is an issue that crosses all boundaries regardless of age, gender, class or religion and tragically because of domestic abuse every week at least two women will die. For many women who suffer domestic abuse, the abuse of alcohol or drugs will also be a factor in their lives whether it is their own misuse to escape or cope with their situation or misuse of substances by their abuser.
Often women who have alcohol or drug issues will believe themselves to be more isolated and fear if they seek help they will be judged.
In the past many of the domestic abuse cases received by the Safer Caerphilly MAC indicated the need for intervention and support from a specialist in substance and alcohol misuse.
Carolyn Dudley has worked within substance misuse support for sixteen years and in her current role as Substance Misuse and Domestic Abuse Worker for the Caerphilly Borough for the past two years.
She says women need to know that whatever problems they are experiencing there is help at hand.
"Alcohol or drug use is never the reason for domestic abuse but it can exacerbate the situation", said Carolyn, who is based at the Multi-Agency Centre in Ystrad Mynach, part of the Gwent Council for Alcohol and Drug Misuse and funded by the Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership.
"Alcohol use can sometimes become the method men and women use to cope and manage what is happening to them, but while it can relax a person and take them out of that situation for a time, it is a major mood altering substance and can be extremely harmful, having severe implications for the health of a person and for the well-being of the family.
"My job is not to judge or to make decisions for anyone.
"At the MAC we are a safe, confidential point of contact for anyone who is experiencing problems with substance use and domestic abuse and to provide choices and options where perhaps they felt there were none.
"I can give advice about services which are available should someone feel they may need help in dealing with their own alcohol or drug misuse and give help in getting family support through our partner service DAFs for people who are dealing with the alcohol or drug misuse of someone else in their family."
The Safer Caerphilly MAC provides professional support from a range of agencies at one base and aims to minimise the number of different agencies that victims of domestic abuse and their families need to get in contact with to seek the help they need.
Carolyn added: "It is important for us to educate people that abuse does not have to be physical, it can be emotional, sexual, financial or involve controlling the other person.
"When a man or women makes the decision to come along to a session they don't have to talk about anything much at all if they don't want to at that point, they are free to give us as much or as little information as they feel comfortable with.
"We understand making that first approach is a huge step and we always follow the wishes of the individual.
"Our hope is that if they connect with our service we can help them look at options that will change their life for the better so nobody in that position need feel they are alone- we are here to help."
Caerphilly Borough Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr Lyn Ackerman said, "The Safer Caerphilly MAC provides really important help to many people who don't know where to turn.
"I urge anyone reading this who is suffering from domestic abuse and misusing substances to seek help.
"Both are very serious problems, but both can be helped with the aid of the services on offer. The MAC can provide you with as little, or as much support you feel you may need."
To contact the MAC team and find out more about accessing a one-to-one session call Substance Misuse/Domestic Abuse Coordinator Carolyn Dudley on 07875 332402 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information, please visit the Safer CCB website.
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