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Zero tolerance for domestic abuse this Christmas

hand-stretched-out

Worcester City Council is urging people to move from silence to action, in a bid to combat domestic abuse this Christmas.

Financial pressures, alcohol on tap, trying to create the 'perfect' Christmas and being cooped up together for long periods all contribute to a regular rise in domestic violence at this time of year.

The effects of lockdowns have also taken their toll in recent times.  Nationally domestic violence incidents nearly doubled last year, from 200,000 reports in 2019 to 369,000 in 2020.

"A national spotlight has been shone on the issue of violence against women this year.  Here in Worcester, we cannot look the other way and pretend that this is something which only happens in other places," says Cllr James Stanley, Chair of Worcester City Council's Communities Committee.

"I'm asking everyone who lives or works in the city to move from silence to action to combat this issue.  When we hear abusive things being said about women or witness abusive behaviour towards them, we need to call it out and show the perpetrators that we have zero tolerance for their actions.

"Only by doing so can we start to make a real difference and see a reduction in the number of people experiencing domestic abuse in Worcester."

On Thursday 25 November the Mayor will speak at the Worcester launch of the national 16-day White Ribbon campaign at the Warndon Community Hub, WR4 9NX.Members of the public are welcome to join the event from midday to 2.00pm.

You can show your support for the White Ribbon campaign by making an online pledge here  - the goal is 10,000 pledges between now and the end of the year.

Members of Worcester City Council's Community Safety Team will be visiting schools and nightclubs over the next couple of weeks to raise awareness of the issue of domestic abuse and to signpost people to available support.

Local support for victims of domestic abuse

148 people were referred to the Worcester-based DAWN project, a free, confidential service for people who have experienced domestic abuse, between 1 April and 30 September 2021.

The DAWN project is a free, confidential service for anyone who lives in Wychavon, Malvern Hills and Worcester who is experiencing, or has experienced, domestic abuse.

It supports victims and survivors at all stages of abusive relationships, whether or not they are still living with a perpetrator.

The DAWN project also provides support to access housing, benefits advice, debt advice, legal services, support at criminal and family courts, referrals to specialist counselling services, support with reporting incidents to the Police, and support with social care.

For more information:

DAWN - Worcester Community Trust

Call: 07713 200699 (not a 24-hour helpline – in an emergency always call 999.

Email:

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Break for Freedom

We share the story of a brave Worcester resident - she reached out for help and her life has now moved on to a much better place.

"I first met my former husband through friends in Worcester, which is why I thought he would be OK.

But he soon became very clingy and bossy and was extremely controlling.His abuse was more mental and emotional than physical.He would shout, slam things, call us names, give me the silent treatment, put us down and try and intimidate us.

After we got married, he insisted that we and my two children (from a previous relationship) moved away from the area where my family lived.  He didn't like me having friends and stopped me from joining mother and baby groups after the birth of our child.

When my ex-husband came home from work, dinner had to be ready and the house had to be spotless.  No-one was allowed to talk at the dinner table.

My two older children were expected to be out of the way in their bedrooms from 6.00pm onwards.  My ex kicked my eldest son out of the house when he was 16, in his final year at school.  He hated the close relationship I had with my daughter and tried to stop us from talking to each other.

After twelve years, I had finally reached breaking point and was no longer in denial.  My New Year's resolution was to speak out, ask for help and leave with my children.

I made contact with the DAWN project – a free, confidential and non-judgemental service for people who have experienced domestic abuse.  They support you whether you are still in the relationship or have left.

The DAWN project has been absolutely fantastic - .I don't think I'd be where I am today if it wasn't for the help, support and understanding I've received from them.  We've been in touch for about three years and they have given me emotional and practical support throughout.  We've had regular face to face and group sessions as well as help over the phone.

Jo, my support worker, talked through my options and helped me prepare a plan to leave.  I had a bag packed with mine and the children's essentials.  I gradually took items over to my parents' house, without him finding out.

So on the day I finally did decide to leave with the children, I was well prepared.  We moved temporarily into my mum's   house. The DAWN project then supported me through my divorce and helped us to find a beautiful new home.

When you're in an abusive relationship, it's easy to start thinking that everything's your fault and that you're going crazy.  The support I got from DAWN helped me to see that this wasn't the case and I got a fresh perspective on my relationships.

If anyone reading this is experiencing domestic abuse I would say, please ask for help; talk to anyone: family, friends, teachers, doctors, neighbours, and most definitely the people at the DAWN project. They are on your side and won't judge you. They listen, advise and will make you feel valued. They have been my Guardian Angels." 

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