A Leeds based charity which helps hundreds of domestic violence and ‘honour abuse’ victims every year has been handed a £449,000 grant to provide a round-the-clock helpline service.
Karma Nirvana was set up by Jasvinder Sanghera CBE, herself a survivor, to help victims of honour-based violence and forced marriage.
The charity has already taken 6,700 calls nationally since it was founded.
It took 126 calls from victims in Leeds in 2015 alone, and 358 from the West Yorkshire area.
The helpline get over 700 UK cries for help a month but misses over 200 calls a month due to finite resources.
The new Government grant will extend the helpline service to evenings and weekends, when the service is currently closed.
The majority of the missed calls are during these periods.
Charity bosses say the funding has come at a “critical” time and will make “a significant difference” to the live sof many victims.
Ms Sanghera said: “We will now be able to extend the helpline to evenings and weekends, reducing missed calls, increasing calls and saving lives.
“This news comes at a critical time for our work as the school holidays are around the corner, this being the greatest time of risk.
“We will now work tirelessly to ensure professionals and victims are aware that Karma Nirvana can support out of hours.
“Extending the helpline will enable us to reach the most isolated victims at home and support emergency out of hours services.
“It has been painful to think someone had the courage to call Karma Nirvana and we were not there.”
Ms Sanghera stressed that “a victim can be in danger anytime of the day and hour, survivors like myself are more vulnerable during the evenings and weekends”.
Another survivor, and member of the charity’s ambassador panel, ‘Nisha’, said: “I remember being stranded at home with no escape waiting till Monday mornings. I am delighted that this service will be available to many more victims out there.”
>If you are a victim of honour-based abuse, or know someone who is, call the Honour Network helpline on 0800 5999247.