The future of Merseyside’s domestic violence helpline is under threat after it suffered a cash crisis

Liverpool-based Worst Kept Secret has helped thousands of victims of abuse in their homes since it was launched in 2001.

But its current funding package has come to an end and it now needs about £100,000 to keep it going for another year.

Worst Kept Secret’s six employees are now being prepared for the worst by its parent organisation, Local Solutions, which also runs the ECHO’s Bullybusters service.

The helpline is supported by various grant bodies and trusts across the UK.

Because those sources have reached an end, Local Solutions has until the end of April to secure its future.

It submitted applications for council help yesterday.

Steve Taylor-Smith, Local Solutions’ strategy and development manager, said: “The best scenario would be a pot of cash to sustain the project.

“We are pursuing a number of grant-making trusts, but it is a matter of finding the money sooner rather than later, because the deadline is imminent.

“Staff are hopeful the financial issues can be bridged.

“They will not be suddenly told that they are out of a job – we have procedures to keep them informed.”

In its first five years alone, Worst Kept Secret dealt with more than 11,000 calls from domestic violence victims.

One staff member, who would not be named, said: “It is devastating for us on a personal level but it could be the end for such a valuable resource.

“Our service is free and the number does not show up on a landline bill, which is crucial if an abuser is very controlling.

“This would leave a tremendous gap for the victims of abuse. We feel we can really help these people.”

Worst Kept Secret can be contacted in confidence on 0800 028 3398.

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