The Minister is undertaking a series of visits throughout Wales over Christmas and the New Year to raise awareness of the All Wales National Domestic Abuse 24-hour Free Telephone Helpline – 0808 80 10 800, meeting front-line staff and victims and reinforcing the message that domestic abuse must not be tolerated in Wales.
The Minister said:
Evidence shows that instances of domestic abuse rise over the festive period and it is particularly important that victims are aware of the support available, in the first instance via the 24 hour free All Wales Domestic Abuse Telephone Helpline – 0808 80 10 800.
Victims of domestic violence are often too afraid or too ashamed to speak out and 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.
It’s a sad indictment that since January 2008 when the helpline was developed into a 24-hour service, it has received an average of 1,500 calls each month.
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 and centres like this are the best way of providing a real joined-up service to victims. The Domestic Abuse One Stop Shop is very impressive and co-locates all service providers in Rhyl in one building including Denbighshire Women’s Aid, Social Services and the Independent Domestic Violence Adviser.
The Minister said domestic abuse funding 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 £300,00 to the North Wales Women’s Centre to buy the Water Street premises.
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.
17 December 2008