Help for victims of domestic abuse in Malmesbury and Cricklade
A NEW initiative has been launched to help hidden victims of domestic abuse in the Malmesbury and Cricklade areas.
Community group Hometruths, which started in Swindon last year, decided to extend its reach after local victims approached it for support.
The announcement comes just weeks after local police figures showed the number of assaults in Malmesbury, particularly within homes, had risen.
“Because we had some people coming forward to us, it was one of the things that made us think this was an overlooked area,” said founder Kim Swinden(CORR).
She stressed victims came from all social backgrounds and the type of abuse ranged from mental and emotional to physical.
In one local case involving a professional couple, the woman was under strict financial control from her partner to the extent that she was not allowed to use her own bank card, the mileage on her car was checked and it had to be left virtually empty of fuel.
“There are so many ways of controlling someone that won’t look obvious,” said Kim.
The problem was often hidden in plain sight in small rural communities like Malmesbury where people tended to know each other’s business and victims, mostly women, were afraid to speak to anyone about it because of the risk that their partner would find out.
Last month Malmesbury police told the area board the number of assaults in the area gone up by 20 to 81. Most were minor and involved friends falling out. But Insp Mark Thomas said officers were also dealing with cases of domestic violence, which they were keen to see reported so they could take action against the perpetrators.
“We’re just starting to raise awareness within the area,” she said. As well as victims, the group also wants to hear from potential volunteers and professionals who are keen to work with Hometruths.
The group, which was consulted by Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson when he drew up his list of priorities, provides one to one support, information and safety planning as well as a survivors forum.
It works with the police, solicitors, housing services and other organisations to help people who are still in abusive relationships and those who have left or are planning to leave.
Hometruths is online at hometruths.coop and can be contacted on 01793 617589.