international women's day 2011

True Extent Of Domestic Abuse In Wales Revealed On 100th Anniversary Of International Women’s Day

Posted on: 16 March 2011

* New figures show shocking prevalence of domestic abuse across Wales
* Many services still unaware whether they will receive funding post-April

On 8th March, as women’s organisations across the world celebrated the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day (1), leading domestic abuse charity Welsh Women’s Aid (2) revealed the shocking extent of domestic abuse across Wales.

Statistics gathered on Valentine’s Day provide a one-day snapshot of the services delivered by Welsh Women’s Aid’s member groups and other domestic abuse service providers across Wales. But despite the clear demand for these life-saving services for survivors and their children, many services still have not yet been informed whether they will receive funding beyond the end of March.

On one day in Wales (3):
* 211 women were living in refuges run by Welsh Women’s Aid’s member organisations, with a total of 167 dependant children
* 40 of the children and young people* living in refuges were, or had previously been, on the Child Protection Register
* This included 1 baby who was born to a woman accommodated in refuge, and placed straight onto the Child Protection Register
* 1701 women were receiving community-based support, with a further 512 on waiting lists
* 1453 children and young people were receiving community-based support, with a further 338 on waiting lists. 97 of these children were on the Child Protection Register.
* 90 women and 11 children and young people contacted Welsh Women’s Aid’s member organisations for the first time.

Paula Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of Welsh Women’s Aid, said:

The 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day is an opportunity to reflect upon the huge amount of progress made – including thousands of lives saved and re-built with the assistance of specialist services such as Women’s Aid since the establishment of the first refuges in the 1970s.

But it is also a time to take stock and to realise how far society still has to go before violence against women and girls is eradicated. In England and Wales, 2 women are killed every week by their partner or ex-partner (4). Our Valentine’s Day statistics are a snapshot of just one day – so while the results are harrowing, they are an underestimate of the real prevalence of domestic abuse in Wales.

Specialist support services are necessary to enable survivors to rebuild their lives. If these services are cut, lives will be put at risk. Coupled with the proposed devastating cuts to Legal Aid, and closures in other services such as Citizens Advice Bureaux, we are deeply concerned that the safety of women and children will be compromised. Women’s organisations have had to grow accustomed to eleventh-hour confirmation of funding, and to operating life-saving services on a shoestring. But now more than ever, it is vital that funders recognize that these services are not a luxury – they’re absolutely essential for thousands of women and children across Wales.”

Notes:

    (1) International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women. First celebrated in 1911, this year is the Global Centenary Year. Numerous events will take place across Wales – see http://www.cymruwomen.org.uk/
    (2) Welsh Women’s Aid is the leading national domestic abuse organisation in Wales, with a network of 31 member groups situated all over Wales, who provide direct services to women and children who have experienced domestic abuse. WWA provides specialist support to our member groups, in addition to informing and challenging national policy on their behalf. http://www.welshwomensaid.org/ WWA also manages the Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline, a national, 24-hour, freephone, bilingual and gender-neutral helpline for anyone experiencing or wanting more information on domestic abuse: 0808 80 10 800, http://www.wdah.org.uk/ .
    (3) Statistics gathered by Welsh Women’s Aid from 14th February 2011, from our 31 member organisations. Statistics on community-based support were gathered from our member organizations in addition to Hafan Cymru, Caerphilly Women’s Services and Montgomeryshire Family Crisis Centre.
    (4) British Crime Survey, 2004.

For further information and to arrange interviews, please contact Hannah Austin on 02920 390874 or Paula Hardy on 07766 524489.

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