Domestic violence referrals 'up 60%' in east Lancashire

A group that supports Lancashire domestic violence victims has said it has seen a sharp rise in the cases it has had to deal with in recent months.

The Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Domestic Violence Team (HARV), based in Accrington, said referrals had gone up from about 30 cases a month to 100.

The increase in demand for HARV's services comes as it faces budget cuts of £400,000 a year from next April.

It provided specialist care for more than 800 families in the past year.

HARV runs two services, one that works with adults and one that works with children and young people.

Debbie Fawcett, team manager, said: "We've got a real commitment to working with families, but if we don't have the funding to pay for the salaries we just won't be able to do it, so we'll have to reduce what we're doing drastically."

She said she believed there could have been an increase in domestic violence because of a downturn in the economy.

She added: "People are really struggling and I think things are harder than they've ever been."

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