STARS Dorset has received funding from both BBC Children in Need and the National Lottery to expand its services in order to help support both children and adults who have been affected by domestic abuse.  

This year, due to the pandemic and lockdown measures, national and local domestic abuse charities have reported a huge increase in calls to helplines and need for domestic abuse support. STARS Dorset saw a 155% increase in calls compared with the same period last year, contact to the NSPCC helpline about domestic abuse rose by nearly 50% and the National Domestic Abuse Helpline rose sharply throughout the lockdown period. 

STARS Dorset supported over 1800 people in Dorset affected by sexual violence last year and with this additional funding will expand its services to both adults and children affected by domestic abuse. Currently 2.4 million people are affected by domestic abuse each year, equating to 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men (ONS).

The funding received from BBC Children in Need will go towards developing a new program of support for children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse during lockdown or lived in abusive households during this period. STARS Dorset will be partnering with NuWaves, a Community Interest Company (CIC) that specialises in supporting children affected by domestic abuse and together will deliver a recovery programme across Dorset for children and young people. The project will include group work, individual counselling and working with schools to help teachers recognise the signs of children affected and provide them with the necessary support.

 The funding received from the National Lottery will go towards developing a specialist counselling service dedicated to adult victims of domestic abuse. Those that receive support will receive twenty weekly counselling sessions face to face, free of charge, at the charity’s centres or through online counselling sessions depending on COVID regulations at the time.

 STARS Dorset Service Manager Helen Stevens said:

 “We are delighted to receive this funding from both BBC Children in Need and the National Lottery Fund to expand our services to support both children and adults affected by domestic abuse in Dorset. During lockdown the amount of people calling our Support Line increased dramatically,  and we hope this funding will help those that need it most with one to one counselling, group work and supporting teachers in schools across the county.”

 Anyone who has been affected by sexual violence and would like confidential advice and support can call the STARS Helpline on 01202 308855 or visit For those wanting to access the charity’s counselling service they can either self-refer or ask a professional they already receive support from to refer on their behalf. If you are in immediate danger always call the police, and always dial 999 if it is an emergency and press 55 if you can’t talk (only on mobile phones). For further support call the 24hr National Domestic Abuse Helpline Freephone: 0808 2000 247 (24 hours)