Evidence shows that instances of domestic abuse generally rise over Christmas and New Year.
While most of the country is celebrating there is a dedicated core of people on standby to help victims at any time, day or night. Their front line is the 24 hour free All Wales Domestic Abuse Telephone Helpline – 0808 80 10 800.
The Welsh Assembly Government is raising the profile of the helpline number over the festive season. Social Justice Minister Brian Gibbons is visiting a number of organisations and projects meeting workers and victims and reinforcing the message that domestic abuse of any level must not be tolerated in Wales.
Today (Thursday 4 December) the Minister visited the Chrysalis Torfaen Domestic Abuse Multi-Agency Centre in Pontypool where he announced that the helpline had been awarded the Telephone Helpline Quality Mark – not only the first domestic abuse helpline to be accredited, but also the first helpline in Wales to receive accredited quality.
The Minister said:
Victims of domestic violence are often too afraid or too ashamed to speak out. Dedicated helplines such as ours in Wales are invaluable. For many people making that first telephone call and talking to a stranger about their problems is the first step to breaking away from the cycle of violence at home.
Domestic abuse knows no boundaries. It happens in all types of relationship regardless of age, race, sex, sexuality, disability, wealth, geographical location and lifestyle. However, statistics show that women are more likely to be at risk of greater injury and suffer more repeated attacks.
The Assembly Government takes the problem of domestic abuse very seriously. In 2005 we published an All Wales National Strategy, which sets an important framework for the development of local action to combat this distressing social evil, and we are now developing a new Strategic Action Plan to enhance delivery of the Strategy.
The strategy emphasises the need for joint agency working where information and good practices are shared. Chrysalis is an excellent example of this as it houses all domestic abuse service providers in Torfaen in one building.
The Minister said domestic abuse initiatives had increased sevenfold since 2002, with the Domestic Abuse Grant Scheme standing at £.3.7m this financial year. Recently he had announced £1.5m capital funding to support organisation that offer advice and support to victims of domestic and sexual abuse, including £70,000 to Torfaen for the Chrysalis Centre.
We must build on the good work that’s already been done. No one in Wales deserves to be assaulted, abused or humiliated. For too long domestic abuse has been seen as a private issue in which outside agencies were reluctant to intervene. Thankfully, attitudes are changing and we can now recognise it as the serious crime that it is.
4 December 2008