I visited a Women’s Aid refuge yesterday to raise awareness of the support available for victims of domestic violence over Christmas. I spent time at Solace Women’s Aid refuge, at a confidential address in North London, and spoke to support workers and victims about their experiences.
The Home Office is working with Women’s Aid and the charity Refuge to encourage victims of domestic violence to seek help and support over the Christmas and New Year period and encourage people to look out for signs of abuse in family, friends, colleagues and neighbours.
Christmas and New Year is a time of joy for many people but can be very difficult for those living in fear of violence or abuse in their own homes. If you are a victim, or if you suspect you know a victim – help is available. Domestic violence is not a private matter and everyone needs to be involved in helping victims.The work carried out at in refuges and by all the support services for women in danger of domestic violence is of vital importance.
Last year there were more than a million female victims of domestic violence in England and Wales, nearly two women each minute. And every week two of those women lose their lives at the hands of a current or former partner. Each year more than 300,000 women are sexually assaulted and 60,000 women are raped. Overall in the UK, more than one in four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can go to the Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or go to http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk (new window). Anyone in immediate danger should call 999.