Be free from fear

Date: 17/11/2015
Ref: PR 5110

Wakefield Council's Domestic Abuse Service officially launches next week to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

The service supports both victims of domestic abuse, and those that use domestic abuse behaviours, to live a life free from fear by reporting domestic abuse. The new service will be officially launched next Wednesday, 24 November.

Kate is encouraging people to get in touch if they need help and support, after the service was her lifeline. She suffered years of verbal and emotional abuse from her ex husband.

Kate said: "On the outside we had everything. My husband had a good job, drove a nice car and we'd just bought a new house. Even now I don't know if people believe that he could act in the way he did towards me.

"It was when he started working away five days a week that the abuse got really bad. When he came home he was constantly swearing at me and calling me disgusting names, even in front of the children. Our son was two then and I wasn't allowed to speak Polish in the house or read books to him as my husband didn't like it. I wasn't even allowed to be in the kitchen at the same time as my husband.

"I became ill. My friends were commenting on how much weight I'd lost and I did not feel well at all. After we had our second child he continued to criticise me for everything and I felt trapped. I didn't have any money to go anywhere and I thought it was my fault.

"It was when I went to a specialist hospital six months later for my son's check-up that the nurse asked me if I was OK. I realised I wasn't and I needed help. That's when I was put in touch with the Wakefield Domestic Abuse Service – it was my lifeline.

"I went to the refuge they suggested with my children and I have never looked back. With their support I realised that this will not break me. Since moving on from the refuge I feel confident, I have a voice again and I'm so happy."

The service will support all forms of domestic abuse, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, coercive and controlling behaviour, honour based violence, FGM (female genital mutilation) and forced marriage.

"I'm so grateful for the support I received that I now volunteer at the refuge to help others in a similar situation. I want others to know that you don't have to take the abuse anymore – there is a way out. It is hard to believe in yourself but it is not your fault. The help and support is out there for you. I've done this for my children and their future and you can do the same too." Kate added.

Cllr Maureen Cummings, Cabinet Member for Environment and Communities, said: "No-one should ever be subjected to any kind of abuse at home or anywhere else. Please do not wait to seek help. If you are a victim of domestic abuse we can help you.

"The service can also offer support if you use domestic abuse behaviours, there is a way out, pick up the phone and call us today. Or if you are aware of abuse taking place please report it."

The Wakefield District Domestic Abuse Service now delivers support for those experiencing domestic abuse from seven hub locations across the district rather than one location, making it easier for people to access localised support. The hubs will operate in Castleford, Featherstone, Havercroft, Hemsworth, Pontefract and Wakefield.

To contact the Wakefield District Domestic Abuse Service call 0800 915 1561 or visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/domesticabuse

ENDS