The campaign will raise awareness of the ‘early warning signs’ of an abusive relationship, as well as publicise the ways in which the Wales Domestic Abuse helpline provides support to people experiencing domestic abuse.
The Wales Domestic Abuse helpline is open 24 hours per day, 365 days of the year, providing free, confidential advice and support to women, men and children experiencing domestic abuse. The number of calls the helpline staff answer continues to grow each year. In 2009 the helpline managed a total of 22,285 calls which is an increase of 176% since 2004. During the Christmas period the number of calls received by the helpline staff rises to a peak. In December last year the helpline managed 2,152 calls, an average of over 69 calls each day from people suffering from domestic abuse.
The types of calls the helpline staff receive are diverse as domestic abuse can take many forms; emotional, psychological, physical, sexual or financial abuse. The campaign emphasises that many victims of domestic abuse are subjected to an initial more benign stage of emotional and/or psychological abuse which often escalates into a more violent form of abuse. Victims often fail to recognise that such controlling behaviour is a form of domestic abuse and is not acceptable.
This campaign aims to tackle this problem by defining the different forms of domestic abuse in a clear and simple way, as well as letting victims know what help and support is available to them.
The Welsh Assembly Government takes the problem of violence against women and domestic abuse very seriously. This is why we have added an extra £1 million to the violence against women and domestic abuse budget for next year, taking the total budget to £4.7 million.
Speaking at the event, Dr Gibbons said;
"The Wales Domestic Abuse helpline staff provide an invaluable service, especially during December when the stresses and strains of Christmas sadly result in a significant rise in the number of people suffering from domestic abuse.
"Although emotional and psychological abuse does not leave bruised skin and broken bones, the effects of such mistreatment can be just as damaging. It is vital that people understand that any form of domestic abuse is a crime, and is totally unacceptable. I therefore urge people in abusive relationships to call the helpline to receive advice and support. The helpline staff are there to listen 24 hours a day, all you need to do is talk."
26 November 2009