A NEW hub dedicated to ending violence against women and girls has opened in East Lancashire.

The Emily Davison centre, in St James Court, Accrington, is the first 'Ending Violence Against Women and Girls Hub' in the UK.

Named after the Suffragette who threw herself under a horse in 1913 during the fight for votes for women, the centre provides a number of services that will support women and girls who are experiencing abuse, exploitation and/or violence.

CEO of the hub, Debbie Fawcett said: “There’s a huge need for a place like this.

“Between January and October 2018, the number of domestic abuse incidents reported to the police in Hyndburn increased by 105 per cent.

“And in the Ribble Valley that number has gone up by 126 per cent.

“The whole idea is around keeping some sustainability as there’s less funding available to services that support victims of domestic violence.

“The idea is trying to create more of a one-stop-shop, where specialists and services are all under one roof, so victims don’t have to be bounced from pillar to post and referred to different centres.

“So anyone who has experienced sexual or domestic violence can come and the relevant staff will meet them there.

“They can just ring up and book an appointment, and they’ll be able to access one-to-one support.”

Ms Fawcett said there were plans to get investment to build a cafe so they can provide job opportunities for those who have struggled to get back into the work place, and to help them build up some kind of social stability again.

The centre will also help victims to find refuge by working with local housing authorities.

Ms Fawcett added: “We’re independent but have a lot of support from Hyndburn Council, and we received a grant from the police and crime commissioner and the National Lottery, among many other organisations, to help purchase the building and make it fit for purpose.”

As well as providing support for women and girls, the hub will also have a dedicated young persons space for those children who have also been affected by or are victims of domestic abuse.

For more information call 01254 879855 or email debbie@harvoutreach.org.uk.