A VICTIM of domestic violence has told the home secretary Amber Rudd more needs to be done to support people who suffer domestic violence.
Jill, not the victim’s real name, spoke out when Ms Rudd visited South Warwickshire Justice Centre in Leamington to hear about existing services in the county and how police were dealing with the issue.
Jill, who lives in Warwickshire, said: “I met my husband nine years before the incident happened that led me to seek support.
“The abuse was very subtle. He started off very charming and then, over the years, he broke me down.
“There was verbal abuse, financial abuse and then there was the final violent incident.”
Jill sought the help of domestic violence support services in the area.
“I went in for a chat and was made to feel really comfortable. They gave me lots of safety advice and we formulated an exit plan – which was very helpful when the incident actually happened.”
She told the home secretary services such as that offered by Refuge were vital.
“Since 2010 services have changed, funding has been pulled.
“You need specialist services and specialist counselling – people need to know that they can talk to someone.”
The need for more investment was driven home by Refuge chief executive Sandra Horley, who said the charity had seen funding cuts to 80 per cent of its services since 2011.
She said: “The future for women and children escaping violence and abuse looks very bleak.
“This country still does not have the emergency refuge spaces recommended by three select committees – the first one in 1975 recommended a refuge bed space for every 10,000 population.
“Yet we have nowhere near that number and finding a refuge space is like finding gold dust.
“Without adequate refuge provision, women experiencing domestic violence will be faced with a stark choice: flee to live rough on the streets with their children, or remain with their abuser and risk further violence – or worse.
“After 40 years of working on the frontline and campaigning for services and improved police protection, I am sad to say that things are as bad as ever – thousands of women and children are left in violent and dangerous situations.”
Warwickshire Police has pumped nearly £200,000 into domestic violence support services – including the Domestic Abuse Counselling Service.
Ms Rudd, who is planning to launch a national consultation in the coming weeks on how to tackle domestic violence, said: “I understand the pressures that are out there.
“I want people to come forward and speak out and be able to say that they’ve been abused and I want the support to be there for them.”