Domestic Abuse

       

Around the clock help for victims of Domestic Abuse The Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline launches its 24 hour service to provide help and support for women, men and children  who are experiencing or witnessing abuse. The Helpline, which has been operating since April 2004 will now extend the service from 12 to 24 hours a day offering practical help and advice to those who need it at all times of crisis. The launch will take place at the Milling Area, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay between 12:30 and 2pm on Tuesday 16th January 2007 and will be attended by Mrs Edwina Hart MBE AM, Minister for Social Justice and Regeneration who commented; “The Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline is a vital part of the strategy for tackling Domestic Abuse. The expansion of the service from 12 hours to 24 hours is key to providing help and support to those suffering domestic abuse when it is needed the most.” Since its launch, the Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline has received over 20,000 calls. The Helpline has also missed 4000 calls due to its opening times. Research has shown that 42% of all female homicides and 4% of male homicides in England and Wales are a result of domestic abuse.  Domestic abuse is very common and can happen day or night. Almost  27,000 domestic abuse incidents were reported to the police in Wales between 2002 and 2003. It is therefore vital that this service is available at any time to reflect the needs of the user and to prevent these cases from occuring. Elen Pierce, Director of Welsh Women’s Aid  “The 12 hour service has clearly served it’s purpose, it’s important to be accessible at all times of crisis – be it day or night.” A unique international poster exhibition will feature as the backdrop to the launch and encapsulates the extent of domestic abuse. The ‘Violence against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition’ is seeking the end of violence against women and children displays images of all forms of violence including Domestic Abuse, Child Abuse, Elder Abuse, Rape, Sexual Assault, Prostitution, Female Genital Mutilation and Trafficking. Domestic abuse is a violation of human rights and is unacceptable. The actions inflicted by the perpetrators of domestic abuse are systematic and repeated. Research shows that victims are abused up to 35 times before they find the courage to seek advice or realise that they are being abused.   The impact that it can have on victims and their families can be ‘devastating’. Research has shown that children who witness abuse can be affected emotionally and psychologically which can have detrimental affects on their lives.  The mother of Melanie Elsbury, Julie Crumpton, whose daughter was murdered by an abusive husband 3 three years ago this January will also speak at the launch and will say “ I spoke out at the launch of the Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline and will continue to do all I can to support it. I want as many people to know the devastation a tragedy such as this causes.” The launch will feature the ‘Washing-line Project’ which bears the testimony of women and children who have experienced domestic abuse. Their experiences highlight why abuse should not be tolerated. There is no excuse for domestic abuse! 

Notes to editors –Welsh Women’s Aid is the national umbrella organisation with a membership of 35 independent local Women’s Aid Groups situated throughout Wales and manages the Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline. Our Media Briefing about Domestic Abuse is attached.  Julie Crumpton, Mother of Melanie Elsbury and Elen Pierce, Director of Welsh Women’s Aid / Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline will be available for press comment between 12:30 and 1am prior on the 16th January 2007. Please inform Natalie Owen, Communications Co-ordinator before the day of the event on 02920 390874 or email natalieowen@welshwomensaid.org.uk For more information on the Violence against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition visit:  http://www.dvposters365.net/ The Wales Domestic Abuse helpline 0808 80 10 800 is open 24 hours 

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