A Sheffield helpline for people affected by domestic abuse, which took more than 2,000 calls last year, is extending its hours from this month.
As of yesterday, the helpline will run from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday. It will also be open on week days over the 2017 Christmas period from 8am to 6pm, except on bank holidays.
One woman from Sheffield - who suffered 13 years of domestic abuse from her then-husband and now uses a wheelchair due to the physical abuse - urged other victims to speak out.
She said: “Don’t suffer in silence. I did because I didn’t know where to go, but there’s always someone there to help. “I grew up without a dad so I knew what it was like not to have one. So I just put up with it but then he hit my five-year-old son, and that was that.
“When we started off we were great together. But he was a drinker and things changed after we got married.
“He used to say that I put on certain tops or skirts just to make men look at me.
“He beat me so badly that I miscarried and my spine is so damaged that I’m now in a wheelchair. I was just numb. I used to stand there and let him beat me. I didn’t get help from anyone at the time. I was too ashamed to tell anyone. I thought it was just something happening to me.
“Now I’ve left him and I’m away from it all I feel on top of the world. I regret not doing it years ago but I didn’t know. I’ve got my life and my kids and that’s all that matters to me. Don’t suffer in silence like I did.”
The helpline service is run by Action Domestic Abuse Services and funded by Sheffield Council. Specialist workers listen and offer advice and information about the services available.
Call the helpline for free on 0808 808 2241.