'Domestic violence victims face isolation at Christmas'

By Zara Morgan
BBC News

  • Published
Sarah holding a cup of tea
Image caption,
South Wales Police received 1,321 domestic violence calls between 1 and 16 December

No family and no friends to spend Christmas with - but safety for them and their children is all two domestic violence victims want this year.

Sarah and Prudence are among a number of women in Wales who will spend 25 December in a refuge.

Cardiff-based charity Rise said it sees an increased demand for its services at this time of year.

South Wales Police said it was positive that more people were coming forward to report incidents.

Prudence, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, began living in one of Rise's emergency accommodation spaces 11 months ago following years of abuse.

She said: "It is the hardest decision I have ever had to make, taking my son from his home and everything he knows, but it was also the best thing I have ever done.

"My son has been through so much this year. We will just spend Christmas together watching videos and having phone calls with family."

'Best gift'

She added that their safety was the "best gift" they could hope for.

Sarah, who spent a month in hospital after surviving a serious attack by her former partner, said she did not feel in the mood to celebrate Christmas.

"I am grateful to have a roof over my head," she said. "But nobody wants to be in a refuge over Christmas.

"Obviously, I would like to be home but that is not possible."

Image caption,
Amanda Seed from Rise said it sees more callers who are at "very high risk" during the Christmas period

Rise director Amanda Seed said the women's experiences were not uncommon.

"A lot of women will want to get over the Christmas and New Year period, and maybe get help in the New Year," she added.

Police forces in Wales dealt with 38,583 domestic abuse related incidents last year, according to Home Office figures.

However, some fear that figure could be higher as a large proportion of incidents go unreported.

Det Supt Jason Davies from South Wales Police said the force was receiving more calls which "demonstrates that people are increasingly confident in reporting crime to us".

"But we remain committed to preventing such abuse in the first place," he said.

Welsh Women's Aid said Christmas could be an "incredibly difficult time" for the thousands of women and children in Wales living with domestic or sexual abuse.

A spokeswoman added: "They might be prevented from seeing family or friends, be financially controlled and feel isolated at home."

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