As part of a campaign Womens Aid are currently running, they have asked survivors of domestic violence who may have stayed in a refuge or people who may work in a refuge to reach out to David Cameron and tell him why refuge services are so important.
Did you know…
Considering statistics show that 2 women are killed every week in England and Wales by a current or former partner (Homicide Statistics, 1998) – that’s 1 woman killed every 3 days – it’s pretty scary to think that if those 155 women had somewhere to go, how many lives could we be saving?
Here’s my message to the Government explaining why I support the SOS Campaign.
“Dear David Cameron,
I am not a survivor of Domestic violence. I have never experienced firsthand DV, nor had I ever really known too much about it up until a few years ago. I was one of those people who thought it happens. Yes, it happens to other people. And thought nothing more of it.
Two years ago I took some time out to volunteer for the national domestic violence helpline. I was the first point of call for women on the cusp of escaping horrifically abusive relationships. Without sounding extremely narcissistic, for some, I was a lifeline. The experience on the helpline really resonated with me and I came away from it wanting to know more; I wanted to do more.
I now work as a Refuge Support Officer and I can’t see myself doing anything else.
Many people don’t realise that minimal funding means that I’m lone working in a refuge occupied by 7 families at any one time.
I am the person to greet the women when they leave their entire world behind and sometimes even all their belongings. I help them with accessing food, clothing and medical attention if it’s necessary. Women who suffer financial abuse may need assistance accessing benefits they may be entitled to and we even assist them with looking for housing. As a support worker I help to advocate and support them wherever possible so that we can help empower survivors to live independently.
As rewarding as all that may be, I have also been on the phone where I have had to turn a women down because we have no spaces. I’ve heard her desperate pleas because she has nowhere else to go but back to the violence. I’ve seen the stomach turning bruises, cuts and burns they’ve come away with. I’ve witnessed mental breakdowns experienced once they’ve come away from their circumstances and are in a safe haven.
On the other hand, in the short time that I’ve worked in the field, I have seen the changes in women that stay at the refuge. I’ve witnessed them grow into strong independent women, who go on to do so much for themselves and their children. We encourage them to give back to the community to get back into education and to go for the careers they’ve always wanted. Without our refuges, the future for those women may have been extremely bleak.
I support the Women’s Aid SOS campaign simply because we need them. If we can help save lives why wouldn’t we? If we can help better someone’s quality of life by giving them chances and empowering them, why not? Refuges are about children too, giving them a safe environment to grow up in and recognise healthy relationships allows for a better society; as does encouraging women to educate and empower themselves to move forward and bring about significant change.
We need to Save Our Services.”
If you would like to take part, you can send your message to David Cameron via an online form here: https://email.number10.gov.uk/
Women’s Aid have asked that we all use the same message subject line so that the government is aware of where the messages are coming from. Please use the following, personalising your name and location:
‘Why I support the Women’s Aid SOS campaign, my story -Sian Hawkins, London’
What are your thoughts on Domestic Violence and the Campaign?
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