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Next Link wins back the contract for Bristol domestic abuse service.

Next Link, the renowned Bristol based domestic abuse service is to continue providing domestic abuse services in Bristol, following a reconsideration by Bristol City Council and an endorsement of their bid by top national experts.

In 2015 Next Link was told by Bristol City Council that their funding bid was unsuccessful and instead the Council intended to fund a national organisation based in London. Next Link challenged the decision in the High Court and an agreement was reached that an independent panel of national experts would consider the two bids. This panel have now decided that the bid from Next Link was the best for service users in Bristol.

“We are really delighted that the quality of our bid has been endorsed by renowned experts in the field of domestic abuse and that we will be able to carry on providing the service that we have been giving local people for eighteen years “ says Carol Metters who heads the Next Link Service.

Next Link is a locally grown service that has been providing domestic abuse services in the city for 18 years and last year it supported more than 2,600 families. It has an excellent local and national reputation and has gained the trust of many domestic abuse survivors.

Cathy Morgan Chair of the Next Link organsation said

“Our services have been instrumental in saving women’s and children’s lives and supporting them to live free from the fear of violence. It is crucial that victims fleeing domestic abuse are able to access services that they know and trust and are on their door step. The message we want to give to victims is we are here to stay and we can help you.
I would also like to pay tribute to Carol and to all the staff who have kept the service running for local people during this period of great uncertainty. It has been a difficult time for them but they made every effort to make sure our service users were not affected”

Next Link services in Bristol include

  • Seven safe houses / refuges,
  • One complex needs safe house
  • Resettlement and outreach services
  • Crisis Response service,
  • Dedicated Black and Ethnic Minority Services
  • Forced Marriage, Honour Based Violence
  • Accredited advice and guidance
  • Freedom Programmes and recovery tool kit groups
  • The IRIS (identification and referral to improve safety) scheme where local GPs and their staff are trained to recognise sign of domestic abuse and refer to them the right services.

Next Link comes under the umbrella of Missing Link. Services include the following:

  • Missing Link provides mental health support and housing services for women with acute and enduring mental health needs
  • Safe Link provides support to victims of rape and sexual assault

What women say

This is when Next Link became involved, they helped with form filling, which I find quite daunting at the moment. They have helped me in so many different ways, to me they are my safety net, and gradually because of their help, I am rebuilding my new life and looking forward to being rehoused permanently and settling into my new life.

15 years in a violent marriage

I have three young children.

In October, I left my ex-husband and escaped from the violence.

My health visitor put me in touch with Next Link who helped me through my situation. Next Link have been there for me, have supported me and are still here for me.

My 3 children and myself still need Next Link’s help and support.

Well, where do I start?

I’ve been on the run for a few years, because I’ve a lunatic for an ex-partner. He was very violent, I spent 4 years of daily abuse which ranged from verbal, sexual, physical and emotional.

We met in a day centre, we were both rough sleepers. Tim never drank or was a user, he was really twisted. Suddenly his face would change, his eyes would go all wide and I knew I was in trouble.

He never let me out of his sight, I wasn’t allowed to be on my own, he would leave me with his friends when he went off to do things. He controlled everything in my life. I finally had a chance to run and I did I just ran, we had gone away for the weekend, he let me out of his sight for 10 minutes as he avoided paying a hotel bill.

I was instructed to wait around the corner for him. All I had was my ID, pair of shorts and flip flops, I ran and ran. The next big hotel I came to I ran in and made a call to woman’s aid and jumped in a taxi to safety, my body trembling. I stayed in a safehouse and began the journey to re-build my life and my strength. Its kept me off the street and meant I’ve remained one step ahead of him.

Hopefully I’ll be able to be in my own house one day and be able to see my children again and I hope they’ll have enough dignity to understand.