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Councillor visits Domestic Violence and Abuse Services
On October 3 2016 Councillor Terri Reid met with women, children and staff at a refuge in Hampshire which is run by You First, the domestic violence and abuse service of The YOU Trust working across West and North Hampshire.
People in the refuge are fleeing domestic violence and abuse, such as Jo – she has two children under 5 and was placed in the refuge by the police after the last violent incident at home. The police had been called a number of times, but Jo wanted to make her marriage work for the sake of the children. Jo says the violence and control by her husband was getting worse and she was afraid he would kill her and hurt the children, so this time she came to the refuge.
Jo has been at refuge for 6 weeks and was worried when she first came here, what it would be like, what the other women would be like and how the children would settle. Jo says its been great, the other women are a good laugh and its good to have someone to talk to who understands. The children have made new friends and they get lots of help from the children’s workers. Jo feels really safe now and has started to think about her move on and where she may end up. There is so much more to Jo’s story and moving into refuge was a positive step for her.
You First Hampshire support women, men and children who have experienced or who are experiencing domestic violence or abuse in their relationships. This can happen to anyone, regardless of age, social background, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity. Statistics indicate that 1 in 4 women, 1 in 6 men and 1 in 3 from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities will experience domestic violence and abuse at some point in their lifetime.
Funded by Hampshire County Council the service provides free and discreet support, advice and refuge to victims and survivors of domestic violence and abuse. Last year You First worked with over 2,000 people who had experienced domestic violence and abuse in Hampshire and Councillor Terri Reid visited the refuge to understand the work first-hand through meeting workers and domestic violence and abuse survivors.
Commenting on Councillor Terri Reid’s visit, the Head of the Domestic Violence and Abuse Department, Tonia Redvers, stated: “It is brilliant that Terri came to visit the refuge, YOU is always very happy to welcome Councillors to the refuge to meet the people we work with and understand the issues they are facing. Refuge accommodation is vital for some people who are fleeing domestic violence – it offers a place of safety for both adults and children and gives them time to come to terms with what they have experienced. Refuge is more than a roof over their heads, it gives people the space to stop and think about their future and, when ready, we can keep working together when moving on into the community to live a life free of abuse.”
Since visiting the refuge Councillor Terri Reid has added: “The Council is committed to preventing homelessness and supporting vulnerable people and I am delighted to be able to see again at first hand the vital specialist work being undertaken by the YOU Trust to support some of our most vulnerable residents. Domestic Abuse is a significant cause of homelessness; the fact that there is a range of alternative good quality options and support for victims and their families means they can receive a service most suited to their needs.”
If you are think you are experiencing domestic violence and abuse, please contact YOU First on 0330 016 5112. For emergency assistance, always dial 999 first.