Waveney domestic abuse charity sees dramatic rise in victims seeking help

The Waveney Domestic Violence and Abuse Forum has launched a new poster campaign. Picture: Mick Howe

The Waveney Domestic Violence and Abuse Forum has launched a new poster campaign. Picture: Mick Howes. - Credit: Archant

A charity which supports families and victims of domestic abuse across Waveney has been inundated with calls for support.

Committee members from the Waveney Domestic Violence and Abuse Forum at their AGM. Pictured from lef

Committee members from the Waveney Domestic Violence and Abuse Forum at their AGM. Pictured from left is Christine Read, Maureen Duckworth (vice chairman), Dreena Black (chairman), Doreen Lawrence (co-ordinator) and Margaret Blakey (secretary). Picture: Mick Howes. - Credit: Archant

With a large increase in the numbers of victims who have been calling into the Waveney Domestic Violence and Abuse Forum (WDVAF) offices in Kirkley seeking help, the group has unveiled a new poster campaign.

With the message that 'Domestic Abuse is NEVER ok!' people are being encouraged to 'make this new year your new start' by taking a 'leap of faith' and putting the past behind you.

It comes as the forum continues its hard work in Waveney supporting victims of abuse, families impacted by domestic abuse, raising awareness and providing programmes – such as Caring Dads, the Freedom Programme and Trauma Therapy.

Based at the Kirkley Centre, Maureen Duckworth, vice chairman of the WDVAF, said: 'The last year has gone so quick and has been our busiest by far with a large increase of victims calling into the office for help.

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'The amount of victims that attend the centre has tripled. Where we may have had one or two every few weeks we had nine in one week in December – there was a large increase in the number of people walking through the door.

'We have had at least three emergency calls recently where we have had to arrange to get the victim into a safe place – it has been full on. It's never ending, but when you hear back from a victim, who has survived and is safe now living a better life without the fear, it all makes sense.'

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Before Christmas the forum ran the White Ribbon campaign, as collections were held and awareness was raised with the group at Lowestoft College, Tesco, Asda, Lowestoft Library, Beccles Library and other venues. Just over £370 was donated.

WDVAF has now been in existence for more than 35 years, and the forum is appealing for trustees and volunteers to join them and also anyone who wants to donate or fund the group. To support the forum, call 01502 572143 or email info@waveneydvforum.org.uk

New sentencing guidelines

People convicted of domestic abuse offences in England will be more likely to go to prison in the future, under new sentencing guidelines.

The new guidelines, published by the Sentencing Council on February 21, mean that people who subject spouses, partners or family members to abuse will face tougher punishments than those who commit similar offences in a non-domestic context.

For the first time official guidance for courts also makes clear that domestic abuse is no longer confined to person-to-person contact as culprits increasingly torment their victims using technology such as social networks or tracking devices.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk's police and crime commissioner, said: 'Since becoming police and crime commissioner a huge amount of work has been done across the county to raise awareness of domestic abuse and the appalling consequences it can have for victims.

'Having met with many victims I now have a better understanding of this terrible crime so I'm very pleased that the sentencing guidelines have been changed so the perpetrators receive tougher and more appropriate sentences.'

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