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Local help available for victims like Holby City's Chrissie

Fans of the BBC's hospital drama, Holby City, will know that a dramatic plot line involving characters Chrissie Williams and Stuart McElroy finally came to a head recently when Chrissie admitted that she was suffering abuse at the hands of alcoholic Stuart.

Viewers who are experiencing similar abuse in real life, or know someone who is, can get help locally from a crucial service that has been launched by the Swanswell Trust in North Warwickshire.

After their relationship ended in a previous episode, Stuart, who has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous and is played by actor Conor Mullen, attacked his love interest Chrissie, played by Tina Hobley, with a scalpel. After much persuasion, Chrissie finally admitted she had been the victim of abuse by heavy-drinker Stuart.

The new Swanswell Trust project, which is funded by Warwickshire County Council, has been set up to specifically focus on cases of domestic abuse where alcohol has been a contributory factor. It is a natural extension for the Trust, who are specialists in the field of alcohol misuse.

The project works with both perpetrators and victims of abuse in separately structured programmes.

Trevor Bedford, Senior Team Manager for the project at the Swanswell Trust, said: "Alcohol is a factor in the vast majority of domestic violence incidents dealt with by the Police and there is a large body of evidence to support this.

"To tackle the problem of domestic violence we must first address the levels of drinking by those involved."

Sue Ingram, Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator at Warwickshire County Council, said: "We hope the current Holby City plot line will encourage people who recognise the abuse being suffered by Chrissie, or even recognise the drinking habits and actions of Stuart, will get in touch with the Swanswell Trust.

"If Stuart's character got in touch with the Swanswell Trust, they would work with him to reduce the levels of alcohol he was drinking to within safe limits by exploring how his current use affects others. If Chrissie contacted them, she would be given support to make choices about her life, referred for counselling and would receive help to keep safe."

The service is open at the Community Alcohol Service Riversley Park Resource Centre, Coton Road, Nuneaton CV11 5TY between 9am and 5pm every day with an extended service until 7pm on Mondays.

Swanswell Trust urges anyone who needs this service to drop in between 10am and 12 pm Monday to Friday or make an appointment by calling 02476 385688. Referrals are also taken from the Police, Accident and Emergency Departments, Probation Officers, Social Workers and the Domestic Abuse Counselling Service.

Swanswell Trust helps people to deal with the effects of drugs and alcohol. For confidential support call 02476 385688. Advice and information is also available at www.swanswelltrust.org.

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Swanswell Trust is a major provider of alcohol and drug treatment in the West Midlands and Warwickshire, providing services for over 3,000 clients in Birmingham, Coventry, Rugby, Leamington and Nuneaton.

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