Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Chrissie's account:

I had split from my ex partner in 1997 due to his behaviour towards me when I found out I was pregnant. I took the decision to tell him as I thought it was only fair. It was a shock to me as I had 3 older children and was not intending on increasing the size of my family, after my last child was born my ex husband had a vasectomy due to the problems I encountered during labour.

Once my ex partner found out I was pregnant he didn’t leave me alone or give me time to think. I did go to discuss my options with my GP, it is unlikely that I would have terminated the pregnancy as I have fairly strong feelings about this, however he constantly badgered me about my decision, including letting himself into my house in the early hours of the morning and sitting on the side of my bed watching me, until I became aware he was there before begging me to go through with the pregnancy.

I had my baby son in 1998 and Carl was ecstatic although he desperately wanted a little girl. He eventually moved back into my home in the September of that year, although our relationship was still volatile. He would use every opportunity he could to belittle me or undermine me in front of my older children.

Throughout the course of our relationship he didn’t work as he claimed to be disabled, he would instead come up with ‘business ideas’ that would end up costing us money that we could ill afford. I was working part time until 2003 when our son started school. Carl was never satisfied with anything that we had or did, he always wanted better, during the course of our relationship he owned 9 cars, 3 caravans and started numerous hobbies (including photography and fishing) which cost a fortune as he always had to have the best. As I was the only one working the majority of credit obtained was in my name only and I have been left with significant debts from the relationship.

I didn’t want to work full time as I wished to spend more time with my children but I felt forced into a corner. I have subsequently found out by chance that Carl has told our son that I wasn’t there for him as a baby as I was always working, this is totally untrue but it has been placed in his mind along with other things.

Friends and neighbours were told that I was moody and that I believed I was too good for them and I wondered why they treated me strangely at the time.

He would take my eldest son with him to take rubbish to the local skip etc and whilst they were alone he would try to blame me for the lack of money and the fact that I didn’t want to go out at weekends.He would make the children do chores around the house and then take the credit for it. We would go shopping and he would hide certain items of food etc away from the children as they were ‘his’

He sexually abused me by convincing me I was a prude and not normal and he raped me: This was one of my lowest points. He had pornographic material in the house just lying around. When I asked him to put it away from the children’s reach, he said it was normal for boys to grow up and see such things.

While I was working he would telephone me up to 6 times a day and also call into my place of work. If I was asked out by friends he would cause an argument as I was getting ready so that I would phone my friends, making an excuse not to go or I would be worried all the time I was out.
If any of us did something he didn’t like he would sulk for days and not speak to us, he was like a ticking time bomb.
Early on in the relationship he told me how he had grabbed his ex wife around the throat and held her against the wall during a row, an action he said he regretted. He also told me about beating someone up so severely they ended up in hospital. He held a shotgun licence and was in possession of a shotgun, he also had a fascination for knives and had a police baton.
Our relationship finally broke down in 2005 when he had an affair with a family friend. The split was extremely acrimonious; I took him back several times before deciding enough was enough. In the October of that year during an argument, my eldest son who was 18 at the time stood between us as he was worried for my safety, Carl grabbed him round the throat and pulled back his arm to punch him. My son managed to get out of the way and the police were called. They were anxious to press charges but we had had enough and couldn’t face going through with it, although with hindsight of course we should have.

During the course of the next 2 years he continued to pester me by phone and text. He also sent presents for Christmas, my birthday and Valentines Day; all the time begging me to take him back and telling our son that he still loved me and that I wouldn’t talk to him. He told us that he had no knowledge where the woman he had an affair was and that he was sorry, this was despite the fact that he was actually living with her and her 2 young children and he in fact got her pregnant.

I facilitated contact although I was extremely unhappy about my son being involved with his new partner as she had actively stated while they were having their affair that if the only reason he was staying was because of our son she would fight with him through the courts for residence. He would continually try to change arrangements or have excuses for being late picking up and dropping off.
In 2007 he refused to return our son from a weekend contact saying he was ill. An emergency application was made to the court and he was returned to me 3 days later. The result of this was that we had to attend dispute resolution interviews with Cafcass.
He constantly tried to change arrangements but if our son wanted to attend something he would make it very difficult to swap, necessitating several solicitor's letters to resolve issues. (He receives public funding. I have to pay and this adds to my costs.)

He then made another application for residency which meant yet more intervention from Cafcass. He spoke to them and arranged for our son to see them whilst in his care without my knowledge.

When I was called in I was told that our son (then age 9) had said he was scared of me and his eldest brother and that he wanted to live with his dad. I explained my circumstances to the Cafcass Officer. She then decided to do more follow up work. Until speaking to me she was just going to recommend that he go to live with Carl. After seeing us separately and with our son (her comment when he was with me was that he seemed far more relaxed than when he was with dad), she filed her report, her recommendations were that my son should live with me and have contact with Carl and that there should be no further applications made without the court’s leave until he was 16. We actually ended up with shared residence which works very badly.

I seem to be living my life almost through an interview mirror, My son discloses nothing from when he goes to his dad’s, yet Carl is extremely well informed about my life. However I am constantly accused of ‘grilling’ my son about their life, something I have never done as I’m not interested. It was also apparent that when going for extended contact during the holidays my son would get quite withdrawn before going and claim he had tummy aches etc but I was always advised I had to send him, I believe he was receiving so much emotional pressure from Carl in phone calls and during contact about how much he missed him and how he really couldn’t be happy unless he was with his dad that he dreaded going even though he did want to see his dad.

In 2009 Carl applied for residence yet again. At this time I was suffering from ill health. My son told me that he wanted to go and live with his father and nothing I could say would dissuade him. He wasn’t bothered about not seeing me regularly or his older siblings, or leaving his school and friends. All he was interested in was spending more time with his dad: He said he needed to. It wasn’t that he never saw his dad: He had contact alternate weekends from Thursday until Monday and half the holidays, with telephone calls in between.

I emailed my solicitor and told her that I had let my son go as I couldn’t face the court process or any more bullying. However I ended up deeply regretting my decision and realised I had done exactly what he wanted. Within a week he had changed my son's school without my knowledge or consent.

The first weekend I had contact with my son was horrendous. It was so clear he had been told even more negative things about me and I just couldn’t get through to him. To my deep regret I did lose my temper and say I didn’t think he wanted to be with me at all.
I have had periods of up to a month when I wasn’t allowed to see my son and contact visits have been cancelled. My son will not switch on his mobile phone when he is at his dad’s so I am unable to speak to him. It is my choice not to call him on their landline at a certain time each week as I believed this was incredibly controlling behaviour by my son's father and I have no wish to repeat that behaviour. Sharing residence of your child with your abuser is the worst of all worlds.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Tara's story:

Having a truly awful time at the moment. Basically I'm being dragged through courts after 5 years of his absence, and it's tearing me apart. He was very abusive and never wanted a child. He was obsessed with me but he never wanted anything to do with Luke.

Anyway he was violent and also very mentally abusive towards me during the time I knew him, but it all had a ring of obsessiveness about it.

I had fallen pregnant after just 3 weeks of knowing him - (I know that sounds bad, I was young and silly) so thought I'd better stay with him. He became abusive quite quickly, but not really properly physical until after I'd given birth - more threats and items thrown while I was pregnant, but then when I'd given birth it got really bad, he had no problem with hurting me whilst Luke was in my arms, it was as if he became possessed or something, it always was so unpredictable.

He had a knife on me on one occasion and locked me in the house for quite a long time on another.
There were lots of different things over the short time I was with him (about a year). I won't go into all the gory details, but you get the picture.

While I was pregnant my granddad died, but just before he passed he gave me an envelope containing £1,000 to start up a savings account for the baby, as his will wouldn't go through until his wife passed, and he knew he was going to die but wanted to do something for my baby. Anyway, I hid the envelope in one of my old photo albums, in a box, under the bed. I hid it really well as I didn't trust my partner because he was terrible with money - he never bought the baby a single thing either when I was pregnant or when he was born, not even a packet of nappies, and he used to take money out of my purse each morning (I hid most of my money but always left £5 as I knew he would hit the roof if there was nothing for him). Anyway, one day when Luke was about 2 months old I went to get the envelope to take it to the bank, and when I got there the envelope was empty. And that was the last straw, that was the day I properly left - from all the things and all the fear something hit me that day, like, you can hurt me but to steal from my baby and my dead granddad is too far.

Something properly clicked and I thought enough is enough if you're going to kill me then do so but I have got to get my child out of here. I packed up our things and went to my mum's.

After I had left, he didn't want to see Luke at all. I tried my best to do the right thing and arranged for my mum to take the baby to meet, but he never turned up, and instead whilst he knew I was home alone he would turn up on my mum's doorstep trying to break the door down, and occasionally just standing at the gate or across the road watching the house.

I phoned the police so many times over the next two months, he stalked me quite badly - two months in which I didn't leave the house, and eventually the police helped me get a new house and advised me to spread the word that I had moved out of the area.

For about the next two years I was frightened of venturing out on my own or with Luke, and still to this day there are certain places that I refuse to go. So so scary.

Anyway, as the police advised I spread word that I had moved (my sister lived in Manchester at the time, I told everybody I was going there and cut pretty much everybody out of my life and started again.)

That was pretty much the end of that. He stopped stalking my mum's house and we didn't hear anything again. Oh there was the odd midnight phone call which my parents received, but only about once a month and that died down.

Then about a year ago, somebody turned up on my mum's doorstep with a court order, demanding my parents go to court and tell them where I live.

So they had to do that, and then I got lots of court orders. About the same week as my first court order I had a fall and went to hospital - they kept me in for 3 weeks, and it turns out I have a shadow on my brain, which they are 90% sure is a brain tumour, but cannot go in and check as it's the centre of my brain.

So my doctors wrote to the courts and told them that I was not well enough to attend and they must put it off until I was in a better situation to be able to deal with it.

Anyway, I actually did go to court about 2 months ago, and I found it so stressful, I collapsed in the court room when he walked in, as I was just so frightened.

The court doesn't understand my fear of him and I am threatened with contempt of court and the possibility of prison if I don't give contact. I was willing to play the game and trust him if, and only if, he held his hands up to everything he's done and admitted it was wrong - because all anyone official says is ''people can change'', but he hasn't done that.

As he was stealing money from me when we were together and had very unpredictable moods, I had my suspicions that he was on drugs - which after I left him I was told he was heavily into. So the court ordered he take a drug test 3 MONTHS AGO, which I found out he hasn't taken.

I now have a really nice close family, a lovely home, and Luke has all the love he needs in my family and my close circle of friends whom I have picked carefully.

I can't handle any of it, I'm finding it really difficult. I worked so hard for Luke and myself, to pick up the pieces and find us a good life and move on, to make everything better, and to give my son the life, the love and the safety he so very much deserves.

Nobody seems to want to listen to me about all the bad things that happened then and the bad things I 100% believe will now happen in the future. I believe my son is still at risk.

But I have got stronger and stronger, I'm just so frustrated now - I am a strong woman. I wasn't while I was with him - I was after - but you know, we learn the hard way and women like us are possibly the strongest you will ever find, we have our moments when someone knocks us down but I'm sure we get up so much stronger than the general person ever could.

It's so scary when you see the news, so often you see children who have been murdered out of spite to the mother who has left the abusive man. I genuinely 10000% believe that he is only doing this to get at me. But people will never take that claim seriously.

Contact is meant to be starting soon and Luke doesn't want it. I couldn't make a few of the first court hearings because of this thing with my health. My ex is trying to use my medical condition against me although it hasn't affected Luke. If anything it makes his life better because I appreciate the small things so much more! I'm not ill all the time, in fact the ONLY thing that makes me ill is stress and anxiety, which is exactly what court and meeting my abuser is doing to me!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Siobhan's story:

You might say that my abuser isn’t a typical abuser. What I mean is he doesn’t fit the stereotype society holds about domestic violence. In reality there is no “typical abuser” nor is there a “typical victim”. Abusers come from all walks of life, ages, socio-economic classes, races, religions. My abuser was educated and had a wealthy position in society. He wasn’t a yob or a football hooligan. He was a person. Just like you and me.

I met my abuser eight years ago, far away from home and in an extremely vulnerable position. I was an easy target. The mental and emotional manipulation began at once. I was groomed for the role my abuser expected me to fulfil – a subordinate, subservient woman. The web of manipulation is so complex that very few who are not specialised in the field struggle to understand the concept. In my case emotional abuse slowly developed into a chokehold of control. He began so slowly I almost didn’t notice it. I had been taught to ignore my instincts and defer all decisions, opinions, thoughts and feelings to him. I was not even allowed friends.

The degradation is something that haunts me still, even after achieving my freedom. Having food spat all over my face and shirt, being defecated upon, being forced to perform sex acts against my will, being beaten into believing that all I am good for is to service the needs of my abuser . . . the list goes on. The mental scars are hardest to heal. It is difficult to believe that I am a worthwhile person, that I deserve to be treated well. I still find myself fighting inner demons when faced with a £4 t-shirt from Primark or a haircut or a hot bubble bath. My abuser leaves these inner demons with me. He is preying on his next victim while I am left worrying that I do not deserve to treat myself like a human being.

The physical abuse began within a year of the relationship starting. It was so small at first I hardly noticed it. A push turned into a slap, a slap turned into a punch. A punch turned into being dragged down a flight of stairs during pregnancy. That attack turned into chasing me through the house with a knife while my two-week-old baby slept. The intensity of the attacks increased until my abuser raped me and attempted to murder me.

The violence never happened in isolation, it was always followed immediately by emotional manipulation – excuses, blaming me, promises to change, buying me gifts, persuading me to take him back and even convincing me that I had imagined the entire thing. I remember vividly after he tried to kill me he lay stroking my hand and tried to kiss me. He told me he loved me. Then he rolled over and went to sleep almost immediately. I lay there beside him, covered in bruises and tears, listening to his contented snores. In the days that followed he pretended everything was normal, he bought me gifts, he promised to change, he got everyone he knew involved in trying to persuade me he was an amazing husband. But I remember looking into the mirror and seeing myself covered in bruises. I wanted to believe him when he told me I was imagining the bruises. But then other people saw them too: I knew they were really there and no excuses could hide them. At last I knew this relationship wasn’t normal. I knew what I had to do. I was terrified of going into a refuge, but I was far more terrified of staying. I knew that next time he attacked me I may not survive and my child would be left at his mercy, without me there for protection.

Life in a refuge was something I had to take one day at a time. The time it takes to begin recovering from abuse is massive and in most cases takes a lifetime. In refuge I shared a room with my young child and shared the communal living area, kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities with the other residents. Refuges are charities and funding is not equal for all of the ones that exist. I have positive memories of some refuge staff and friends made there. But I also remember members of staff and residents who made life exceptionally difficult for me. Physically, it was a very old building with an archaic central heating system, which was so expensive to run that residents were only allowed 2 hours a day of hot water and central heating. The walls and windows were paper-thin. I arrived in winter and my child and I spent most of our time freezing cold. My first night I slept fully clothed and in my coat. Every night after that I put 3 blankets over the curtains to try and keep the warmth in. I had no dressing gown or jumpers and spent all of my £75 per week on rent, food and buying warm clothes for my child.

Most refuges are only staffed 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday. I had been in such a place before and knew that I needed far more support than that; otherwise I would go back to my abuser as I had done many times before. If I had not been able to go down to the refuge office in the middle of the night and talk to staff I am certain I would have seriously considered returning to my abuser.

Of all the refuges in my area, the only two offering 24-hour support were 100 miles away. Although I had no idea where I was going I relaxed a little in the knowledge that my abuser would never look in my hiding place. Little did I know that he had already begun court proceedings in an attempt to find and further abuse us.

I was almost immediately thrown into the legal arena with no knowledge of how the legal system worked. Very few solicitors have knowledge of how domestic violence operates, especially from a victim’s perspective. Whilst I was still in refuge I was ordered by a court to travel 3 hours to hearings and the same to facilitate child contact, all funded out of my own money – of which I had very little. Our abuser employed the same manipulation and lies to the court that he had used with me – and they believed his every word. So much so that they refused to even investigate the Domestic Violence, let alone the impact it had had upon my child. The legal system and all those professionals around me were dancing to the abuser’s tune. Nothing I could do or say would convince them otherwise. I looked to MPs and organisations for support and found none. Fewer people understood Domestic Violence and Abuse than I realised. I felt like an ant trying to climb Mount Everest. Why did no-one understand what was going on or think about the effects of this upon my child?

My life progressed as the legal situation intensified. I left refuge and rented a new house, my child began school, my recovery progressed, and I met a new partner. My child experienced, and still does to this day, massive behavioural issues. They range from tantrums, nightmares, night–waking, early rising, sleep disruption and toilet issues to violent episodes and controlling behaviour. These behaviours are a constant challenge to this day and are always considerably worse after contact with our abuser.

In the legal arena I was awarded residency, yet our abuser continued to abuse my child at contact, something that intensified massively. Abuse ranged from neglect, emotional, mental, and physical abuse or a combination of all of them at any given time. It was obvious to me that my child was suffering immensely. I was constantly worried about the effect of contact upon my child yet a court never took me seriously. I raised the issue many times. My abuser's opinion was always the one that took precedence over mine in the legal setting.

I eventually chose to rent a home with my new partner and child. This meant that I was no longer entitled to Legal Aid. Our joint income was judged to be above the stringent allowances set out by the awarding body. This is a heartbreaking paradox as paying for our own legal representation means that we are living in poverty. My partner and I lie awake every night worrying about where we will find the money for school meals, school uniform, birthdays and Christmas presents. The legal bill for the past 3 months alone is something we will be paying off for the next 12 months. A terrifying thought indeed when we have more court appearances scheduled. It frustrates us that a court cannot see that a man who loves his child would not put his child through this.

After one year of fighting for the impact of Domestic Abuse on my child to be investigated I am only now beginning to have the existence of the abuse acknowledged.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Claire's story:

In June 1998 I met the most wonderful man of my life. I already had 3 children, 2 to my first relationship and 1 to a man that didn’t hang around to see his child grow up. I had been sterilized as I didn’t want any more children.

My husband to be, who I married in 1999, was a kind caring considerate gentleman. He adopted my 3rd child, loved and cared for him like a Daddy does. It was the sense of security he gave me and my 3 children that made us talk of having my sterilization reversed.

In October 2001 my husband kept coming home from work with talk of a female colleague. I trusted him and never thought anything of it, until a month later he came home acting strange, was very quiet and I found evidence on his underwear that something had happened. I questioned my husband, who denied anything and said he could not explain what I had found. I found myself believing him as he was a wonderful husband.

In February 2002 I had my reversal and fell pregnant straight away. In January 2003 I gave birth to a boy. We were very happy and content and my husband treated his first born no different to my third child whom he had adopted. In September 2003 I gave birth to a girl and life was amazing.

I was a stay-at-home mummy and wife. I did everything: looked after all 5 of the children, school run, homework, cooking, cleaning and shopping. My husband worked full-time and played with the children, took them to the park played football with the older ones while I had the 2 younger ones at home.

In 2006 I wanted to work a few hours a week and put in for my driving test. My husband’s attitude started changing a little. I felt I no longer had a say. I wanted to work 12 hours a week and he wanted me to work 8 hours a week. The company I wanted to take my driving lessons with was not the company my husband chose for me.

After passing my test in April 2006 I applied for a job in caring in the community. My employer came to my home and interviewed me, while my husband was present. My husband stressed at my interview he only wanted me to work 8 hours a week as I had children to look after. I knew I could do more hours and still keep up with the upbringing of the children, cook, clean and do shopping.

In August 2007 my husband became controlling over the way the children should be raised to the point he was getting over-strict with my 3rd child. This was becoming a strain on the marriage and also the fact I was working and had taken more hours on. I was now working 12 hours a week, not letting anything slip at home. I was coping very well with work; doing a NVQ2 in health and social care; caring for the children, the home and my husband. I was very proud of my achievements. My husband was showing different signs. He wasn’t proud of me, hardly ever said I was doing well as he used to say; the cuddles became less and the I love you on a daily basis had disappeared.

In October 2007 I decided it was time to learn how to use a computer as this is how I got notification of my shifts. My employer had been emailing them to me since I started work and my husband printed them off for me.

My husband always said he was too busy to teach me the basics from our home computer which by this time my husband spent all his spare time on. He had stopped playing with the children.

My sister who lived down the road helped me instead. She was on a lot of sites and introduced me to a site called netlog, where you chat to other people and I made my own profile. It was great. Before I hadn’t even known how to turn a computer on and off. I was asked to put my email address in to set this site up. I didn’t know my password. I didn’t even know I had to have a password.

That night I asked for my email details from my husband and told him I could now turn the computer on and off and I could look at my shifts when they came through. He gave me the details.

When the children were in bed and my husband was working a late shift I used the computer. This was the only time I could because as soon as my husband came home he would be on the computer.
I started chatting to family members on msn and found this a whole new way of communicating.

I found some of my friends were on netlog and chatted to them, adding people I didn’t know as well, just for the chat as I didn’t get much chat from my husband.

In January 2008 my husband went onto my emails and found I was on the site and started to accuse me. I was annoyed as he was on Facebook, which I had never seen and knew nothing about. I didn’t accuse him of anything even though he too was on social networking sites.

I didn’t realize until later that my husband had set up an account online with my mobile phone which I used for work - which showed all phone calls I was making - and he rang one of my work colleagues because it was a number he didn’t recognize.

My husband decided to come clean about the colleague several years before and told me something had happened. I was distraught and took an overdose. Realising how stupid and foolish I had been, I decided to put it all behind me and concentrate on my marriage; forget what had happened several years before; my marriage was more important. I came off the netlog site. My husband carried on with Facebook.

Somehow I ended up under his spell again and he invited another woman into the bedroom. I could not go through with it and left him to it. This was in March 2008. The act carried on for 2 hours and I didn’t bat an eyelid. I was unsure whether I loved him or not.

By this time my husband had become emotionally abusive to my 3rd child. I decided to have a solicitor’s letter sent to him to the matrimonial home that was in joint names, for him to move out for 6 months to see if we could reconcile the marriage after we’d had some space.

He went for 6 weeks and then moved back in; sleeping in the bed while I slept on the sofa. The arguments were too intense however, affecting all the children. We both decided to have a chat to work out what would be best for the children, and it was agreed I would move to my sister’s. The older two children were living with their dad at this point, and it was agreed I would take my 3rd child with me and the youngest two children would stay at home in their familiar surroundings, with me visiting daily.

I thought that whatever happened between me and my husband I would end up back in my home, this is what we spoke of; and I was told by my solicitor that it was my house also and he couldn’t stop me moving back, since my husband had been able to do this after our earlier 6 weeks’ separation.

After a couple of weeks this plan was not working. My husband was very secretive and always had his mother there. His mother became verbally abusive to me. I decided to move back. I was faced with blackmail from my husband - this was in regard to things from my past I had confided in him because I had trusted him; and there were things that could have destroyed family members whom I loved.

My husband and his mother called the police and said I was abusing them on the doorstep. This was untrue. The police turned up and turned me away, even though it was equally my house! Now I felt helpless and hopeless and had no help from the law. I tried three times in the space of 3 months to gain entry to my home, still to be faced with the same.

All confidence had been knocked out of me. After settling for contact for 18 months and having counselling for 6 months, I finally have courage and confidence to fight for residency.

Now I have applied for residency, my husband is saying I am mentally insane and is making me have supervised contact with my two youngest children until I have been assessed, even though I have brought up two grown up children successfully with no questions about my parenting.

This is how it has been for 2 years: obstacles and barriers continually put in the way of seeing my children, to make me do what he wants.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Domestic Abuse and the World Cup

I was very disturbed to read the recent figures released by Surrey Police which showed a huge increase in domestic violence during the World Cup. The worst day was when England drew with Algeria in the group stage of the tournament, with the number of domestic abuse incidents increasing nearly 61% compared to the same day a week before.

We can assume that this pattern was repaeated up and down the country. Big international football tournaments and drinking are known to be linked but we also know that an increase in domestic abuse is also linked to these events. This is completely unacceptable and just shows how much work we still have to do to make people understand that domestic abuse is completely unaccceptable.

It's vital that we continue to ensure that anyone who needs help getting out of a violent relationship knows that there are specialist services available. Although the World Cup has highlighted the problem, domestic violence happens throughout the year. This cowardly crime causes victims to lose their self-esteem and confidence, becoming isolated and even more vulnerable, and it is vital that whatever month, week or day is is they know they're not alone and help is available.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Early Day Motion

I recently received the below message to highlight an Early Day Motion that has been tabled in Westminster recently:

"Coventry Rape Crisis have managed to get an Early Day Motion tabled asking the government to provide core funding for all 38 Rape Crisis Centres throughout the country. This is a real chance to secure funding for the whole country. Coventry Rape Crisis have been lobbying MPs to sign up and their view is that if constituents have not approached them about the issue, then they won't - so please write to your MP and let them know you want them to add their name. It really does make a difference. You can find your MP's details here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/

Ask them to sign Early Day Motion 1604 http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=38782&SESSION=899

Thank-you everyone."

Monday, 29 June 2009

One Wales Government Consultation

Last week the One Wales Government launched a consultation on domestic abuse. It is important that a proper strategy is in place in Wales to deal with domestic violence and that’s why I welcome the launch of this consultation. Domestic abuse takes many forms in our society, and it is vital that the strategy recognises this. Therefore it is important that people from all walks of life, with experience of domestic abuse take part in the consultation process, and have their say.
It is a positive step that the Welsh government is developing a Wales specific strategy, designed to fit Welsh needs in terms of domestic abuse. However I am concerned that this strategy doesn’t address violence against women specifically. Scotland already has a violence against women strategy in place and one is currently being developed in England. I am concerned that without such a strategy in place, women in Wales will miss out on vital help and support. I will be raising these issues with the Minister in order to impress upon him the need to develop this strategy into one that addresses the issues faced by women specifically.

It is important that we have a proper strategy in place to deal with these issues in Wales. We need to empower people to speak out and get the support they need. I am hopeful that the strategy will play an important role in stopping the cycle of violence. This consultation document highlights how a Christmas advertising campaign led to an increase in calls to the helpline. By developing an effective strategy we can ensure that successful initiatives like this are improved upon and repeated.