A SUCCESSFUL project helping victims of domestic violence in Dorset has secured funding to expand.

The Dragonfly Project, delivered by the YOU Trust, will continue across the county and will also help further victims in Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and West Sussex.

It has helped more than 4,000 men, women and children across the county since it was set up.

Launched in Dorset in 2016, the Dragonfly Project seeks to identify victims of domestic violence and abuse (DVA) who are isolated within their own communities.

It recognised that some people could not access services, or were unaware that these services exist, and tried a different approach to help them.

The project trains people to respond to disclosures of DVA in their communities and encourages people to work together to end any stigma that prevents people coming forward for help.

It also aims to increase early identification of problems and hopes to minimise the long-term adverse effects of DVA.

Katie Bielec, service manager for You First: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for everyone to stand up to domestic abuse and allow those experiencing it to have a voice and the support of the community. We want to empower the community to recognise domestic abuse and feel confident in signposting those affected by it.

“Domestic Abuse is a hidden crime.”

Tonia Redvers, head of hidden violence and abuse for YOU, added: “We identified there were people in Dorset who were experiencing violence and abuse where we needed to do something different.

“YOU worked with Dorset Council to develop this incredible and successful local project which has not only supported people experiencing abuse but also helped build stronger and more resilient communities. We are so pleased to receive recognition of this service and to deliver now across three counties – our passion is local projects developed with and for local people”.

To celebrate the project’s work, and to outline a vision for its path forward, You First are holding their first Dragonfly Networking event at the Dorford Centre in Dorchester on May 9.

The networking event is for members of the community who have attended the domestic abuse workshops and are supporting their community in accessing specialised support or for anyone who is interested in becoming a Community Champion.

Tickets are available at dragonfly-project-takes-flight.eventbrite.co.uk

If you would like to contact the Dragonfly Project, call 0800 032 5204.