A VITAL service offering support to victims of domestic violence is struggling to keep up with demand after incidents soared during lockdown.
Next Link has 175 women on the waiting list for its Freedom Programme support group in South Gloucestershire after the usual number of referrals doubled between March and June.
It usually runs eight support groups a year, each providing 12 weekly sessions for a group of eight women, but these had to stop for several months this year.
Sarah O’Leary , the incoming chief executive of Next Link, has told South Gloucestershire’s multi-agency community safety partnership it would need to run another 15 to 20 groups this year, just to clear the backlog.
It costs £3,750 to run each of the support groups.