The library is not the first place you would think of seeking support when it comes to domestic abuse, harassment, or female genital mutilation (FGM), we cannot take the place of trained professionals, but we can support those who are experiencing domestic abuse by providing the information and the resources they need in a safe environment.
Living in an abusive household or being in an abusive relationship can be disempowering and leave the affected person feeling there is nowhere to turn. Historically, survivors of abuse have not been offered the support they need to heal and can end up blaming themselves. We want to rewrite the narrative; to show that there is non-judgmental support available, including within libraries. We want to say to those who need support: You are not alone; you are not to blame, and you do not have to suffer in silence.
To achieve this goal public libraries are partnering with Hampshire Police and Stop Domestic Abuse to develop a pilot training session for library staff in Chandler’s Ford Library and at Gosport Discovery Centre. This training will give them the skills to direct customers to appropriate domestic abuse support. If this pilot is successful, we hope to extend the training to library staff across the county and update our online resources for victims of domestic abuse.
Public libraries in Hampshire provide access to information, support, and guidance for those who need it. This service is available to all, but I believe it is especially important for those members of our community who need help and assistance when they are at their most vulnerable.
Alongside our pilot training scheme, we also have a range of books on our shelves and on the BorrowBox app that cover physical, financial, sexual and psychological abuse, harassment, FGM and stalking. We also have a selection of books on domestic abuse for children to help explain these exceedingly difficult subjects. Whether you are looking for advice, to start to heal or to broaden your knowledge, we hope that there is something here to help.
To borrow our eBooks and eAudiobooks, simply log in to BorrowBox and browse the special featured bookshelf. For physical copies, browse our online catalogue and, for a small charge, reserve the book or books you would like to pick up at your local library. You can also request books on these subjects under the free Ready Reads; we select – you collect scheme.
If you’re a victim of domestic abuse, or know someone who is, and there’s an emergency that’s ongoing or life is in danger, call 999 now. If you are in an abusive relationship, or are living with domestic violence and need help and support, you can contact Stop Domestic Abuse in the following ways:
HELPLINE – FOR ALL PARTS OF HAMPSHIRE 0330 016 5112
HELPLINE – FOR PORTSMOUTH 023 9206 5494
Contact details can also be found at https://stopdomesticabuse.uk/contact