RELATIONSHIP charity Relate has received £10,000 in Big Lottery Funding to help pilot a new Beyond Domestic Abuse service in the town.

The new service will provide free therapeutic counselling to both male and female survivors of domestic abuse over the age of 25.

It will operate alongside the Gloucestershire and Swindon branch of the charity’s existing Young Survivors Project which was funded by Comic Relief last year and offers free counselling to 11 to 25 year olds who have witnessed and experienced domestic abuse.

Ellaine Cameron, centre manager at Relate, said: “We’re pleased that our Young Survivors Project is already helping young people who are struggling with the emotional aftermath of domestic abuse. “But there are also adults over the age of 25 who are dealing with memories and flashbacks of their past, and this can so often affect people’s present. “We are grateful that the Big Lottery recognised how vital it is that adult survivors of domestic abuse can also access specialist support to move on with their lives.”

It will also offer free family counselling for families who have witnessed or experienced domestic abuse together, but who are no longer in a relationship or have contact with the perpetrators.

Kimberley Wall, Relate Gloucestershire and Swin-don’s service development manager, said: “It’s important that all survivors of domestic abuse can access a service which helps begin to heal the wounds of their trauma. “Specialist counselling can help to break the cycle of abuse that can continue if these hugely difficult issues are not dealt with. “Our counsellors can also offer help for domestic abuse issues that specifically affect LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) and BAMER (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities in order to provide the right support to a whole range of domestic abuse survivors and families.”

The new service will be piloted for a year from June during the same month as the World Cup, which has been linked with increased levels of domestic abuse.

Kimberley said: “Many police forces will be running campaigns during the World Cup which highlight the issue of safety and increased risk of domestic abuse incidents.

“Hearing about this link may trigger traumatic memories of the past for survivors of domestic abuse which may be difficult to manage, even though they have now left the relationship.”

For more information regarding the Beyond Domestic Abuse service, survivors can contact Relate Gloucestershire and Swindon on 01242 523215.

People who are still experiencing abuse can call the police (999 in an emergency or 101 for a non-emergency situation) or contact their local domestic abuse agencies Swindon Womens aid on 01793 610 610.