The Minister spent time touring the Solace Women’s Aid refuge, at a confidential address in North London, and spoke to support workers and victims about their experiences.
The Home Office is working with Women’s Aid and the charity Refuge to encourage victims of domestic violence to seek help and support over the Christmas and New Year period and encourage people to look out for signs of abuse in family, friends, colleagues and neighbours.
Equalities minister, Lynne Featherstone said: ‘Christmas and New Year is a time of great joy for many people but can be difficult for those living in fear of violence or abuse in their own homes.
‘If you are a victim, or if you suspect you know a victim, we want you to know that help is available.
‘Domestic violence is not a private matter and everyone needs to be involved in helping victims.
‘The work carried out at this refuge is of vital importance and really makes a difference to lives.’
Last year there were more than a million female victims of domestic violence in England and Wales, nearly two women each minute. And every week two of those women lose their lives at the hands of a current or former partner. Each year more than 300,000 women are sexually assaulted and 60,000 women are raped. Overall in the UK, more than one in four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.
Nicola Harwin CBE, chief executive for Women’s Aid said: ‘Christmas can be particularly stressful for women living with violent partners, as the family is together for an extended period of time and existing abuse can intensify.
‘Women’s Aid has a national network of domestic and sexual violence services, with member organisations such as Solace Women’s Aid providing lifesaving services throughout the festive period. If you are affected by domestic violence and need help or support we are there every day of the year.’
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you can go to the Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 24 7 or go to the website. Anyone in immediate danger should call 999.
Notes to editors
Photos from the event are available from http://www.flickr.com/photos/49956354@N04/
A video from the visit is available on request
All figures derived from 2009/10 British Crime Survey data
On 25th November 2010 the Government published ‘Call to end violence against women and girls strategy’. To view the strategy visit the violence against women section of this website.
For media enquiries only please contact the Home Office press office on 020 7035 3535
Women’s Aid is the national domestic violence charity that co-ordinates and supports an England-wide network of over 500 local services working to end domestic violence against women and children. Keeping the voices of survivors at the heart of its work, Women’s Aid campaigns for better legal protection and services, providing a strategic “expert view” to government on laws, policy and practice affecting abused women and children. In partnership with its national network, Women’s Aid runs public awareness and education campaigns, bringing together national and local action, and developing new training and resources. Women’s Aid provides a package of vital 24 hour lifeline services through its publications (available in 11 languages including English), websites (www.womensaid.org.uk and www.thehideout.org.uk), and running the Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline in partnership with Refuge. Women’s Aid is a registered charity no 1054154.
0808 2000 247 is the Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge).