VOLUNTEER counsellors are to offer help to victims of violence in Huddersfield.
They are part of a new project for domestic abuse victims which has been launched to tackle and reduce violent crime in Kirklees.
Twenty volunteers have been trained to provide one-to-one, non-judgemental emotional and practical support to female and male victims and their families.
The Kirklees independent domestic violence advisers, paid for by the Home Office, provide information about the law, reporting incidents to the police, attending court and providing counselling services.
Clr Khizar Iqbal, who chairs Kirklees Safer Communities Partnership, said: "This is part of a wider strategy to reduce violent crime and make our communities safer.
"It includes encouraging more reporting of domestic violence, reducing repeat attacks and bringing the perpetrators to justice."
Domestic violence covers psychological, emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members.
Men and women are affected, including those in same sex relationships.
The latest figures for Kirklees show 6,327 incidents of domestic violence were reported to the police between April, 2005, and March this year.
Thelma Singleton, domestic violence strategic co-ordinator with the Safer Communities Partnership, said: "Victims feel vulnerable and frightened of reporting domestic violence and unsure of the help available.
"These trained advisers will provide a listening ear and give impartial advice to make them aware of their options.
"Domestic violence is rarely a one-off incident, but is part of a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour.
"The abuser seeks power over their victim, resulting in a complete loss of self-esteem, which isolates them from seeking support.
"It is not always physical abuse. It can include systematic put-downs and bullying and excessively possessive behaviour.
"Domestic violence occurs across society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth and geography."
The introduction of the new advisers follows the launch last month of a new approach to target high-risk domestic violence victims and prolific offenders.
The Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference aims to reduce repeat attacks and protect children.
It involves the police and other agencies working closely for the first time to tackle the most severe domestic violence cases and offenders in the district.
If you need support contact The Violence In Interpersonal Relationships Team on 01484 223221.
For online information go to www.saferkirklees.co.uk