More than 100 domestic violence victims have been supported by Copeland Council since a specialist support role was created.

The council introduced a prevention and crisis support officer to support victims of domestic abuse and sexual exploitation in January last year and since then the council has been able to support to 105 people, 50 of which were children, who were homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The officer has ensured vulnerable people can get housing and support and the council also provides emergency accommodation including three properties been designed specifically for people with children.

One service user said: “After a recent realisation that I had been in an abusive relationship for 19 years, I decided to leave my marriage.

“The support that I received was invaluable.

"Without this I doubt I would be here today.

“I have tried to leave in the past but would always return.

"However, having this support really made a difference.”

Cumbria Constabulary reported 549 incidents of domestic abuse in Copeland between November 2018 and April last month.

One woman, whose identity has been protected, credited the council's specialist officer with saving her life.

She had been with her partner for more than 20 years and suffered from physical, sexual and emotional abuse and coercive behaviour before seeking help from the council when she thought her partner was going to kill her.

The officer provided the urgent support she needed to leave that day including emergency accommodation, food, a mobile phone, clothing and personal items.

The victim then received support to make police statements, claim Universal Credit, make an application to clear existing debts and attend a medical assessment. She was also signposted to the Freedom Project which supports victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

She was also helped to find permanent accommodation for her and her son and continued to make regular contact with the officer until she felt she no longer needed support.

According to the charity Safe Lives, each year nearly two million people in the UK suffer from some form of domestic abuse and seven women a month are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales. 130,000 children live in homes where there is high-risk domestic abuse.