“There is no room for abuse in our community. All of residents deserve to feel safe in their own home, year-round and at Christmas. We work in conjunction with partner agencies such as the police and Berkshire Women’s Aid to ensure that help, support and refuge is offered to those who need it most.” said Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure.
Wokingham Borough Council and Berkshire Women’s Aid (BWA) have joined forces in a bid to raise awareness of domestic abuse this Christmas. The campaign aims to highlight the help and support available, should you be the victim of domestic abuse.
The festive period can be a particularly distressing and challenging time of year if you are experiencing domestic abuse. Incidents of abuse often increase over the holiday period and unfortunately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are victims of domestic abuse.
This combined with a rise in reported cases since the Covid-19 pandemic began means that it is increasingly important that you seek help if you need it.
Isolation is a common tool used in abusive relationships and often involves victims being cut off from family, friends, and activities. With the ongoing covid-19 restrictions it’s important that friends and family tune into red flags, from signs of physical abuse to indications that their loved one is withdrawn.
Andrea West, CEO, Berkshire Women’s Aid, said: “If you are experiencing domestic abuse, we want you to know that are not alone. You will be believed and you will be heard. We also know that it is not an easy decision to reach out and ask for help, especially with the added pressures that Christmas can bring in a family environment.”
“We know that the Covid-19 pandemic has been a hugely challenging time for everyone, especially financially. We are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of women, men and families seeking our support. Our phone line is open 24/7, offering confidential advice and support to women and men who may be experiencing abuse at home.”
You can call our local service provider for all those affected by domestic abuse, including male victims, BWA (Berkshire Women’s Aid) 24/7 on 0118 950 4003 for advice and support. Alternatively you can visit the BWA website at http://www.berkshirewomensaid.org.uk
If you are in a life-threatening situation it is important that you contact the police by calling 999.
In addition, you can also access support through the council’s Home Refuge Scheme. This free service is for those who are no longer with their abusive partner and additional security measures would increase their feelings of safety. These measures could include the fitting of door chains, viewers, and window locks alongside safety planning support from Berkshire Women’s Aid and a full fire safety check from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
You can contact our Home Refuge team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 0118 974 3799.