Council representatives were out in force last week at this year’s annual domestic abuse prevention convention. Council officers and members joined attendees from across the borough, as part of domestic violence awareness month, to better understand how we can work together to support victims and survivors of domestic abuse.
Hosted by Kaleidoscopic UK, a local charity for survivors of domestic abuse, the convention aimed to inspire, educate and empower attendees.
The convention, which took place at FBC Centre in Finchampstead, featured a full day of topics and talks delivered by inspirational domestic abuse survivors and multi-agency professionals who work within this area.
Topics included childhood sexual abuse and childhood sexual exploitation, LGBTQIA+ abuse, stalking, coercive control and economic abuse. Information was also provided by professionals on family law, Valerie’s Law and the Domestic Abuse Act.
Vickie Robertson, founder of Kaleidoscopic UK said, “We are survivors for survivors. We believe abuse may change us but it doesn’t have to define us, there is life after abuse and with the right support not only can we all survive but we can thrive.”
Between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, 568 men and 1479 women reported domestic abuse incidents to Thames Valley Police from the Wokingham borough but statistically this figure under-represents the number of people who are affected.
Wokingham Borough Council has reaffirmed its commitment to working with partners to provide a comprehensive response to domestic abuse that provides support for people who experience it and holds perpetrators to account.
Cllr Sarah Kerr, executive member for climate emergency and resident services who attended the convention, said: “Domestic abuse can affect anyone, regardless of age, disability, gender identity, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. As we have heard from our inspirational speakers throughout this
educational and empowering convention, it can manifest itself in many ways and it is vital that we educate ourselves to help, support and protect all our residents.
“We are committed to keeping all our residents safe and protecting vital council services including sheltering those who are fleeing domestic abuse, whilst working towards a community in which people can live without fear of abuse.
“One in five children is subjected to domestic abuse, that’s an average of six per classroom. They don’t witness abuse, they live it. As a council, we are here to ensure our staff and partners have the resources available to them to continue to provide protection, a safe space and a support network to all our residents who need our help.”
To report a concern about a child or young person visit the council website.
If you are being subjected to any form of abuse, or know someone who is, there is local support available. The Wokingham borough domestic abuse service is delivered by Cranstoun. They provide support for male and female victims/survivors, children and young people and perpetrators. You can call 0118 402 1921 and speak to someone during office hours or their emergency duty service at other times.
Further local support available
- Kaleidoscopic UK, a local peer support service for adults and children: Contact via the website
- SupportU local LGBT+ domestic abuse support: Contact via the website, or call 0118 321 9111 (10am – 7pm, Monday to Friday)
- National Domestic Abuse Helpline (female victims): 0800 2000 247 (24 hours)
- Mankind Initiative (male victims): 01823 334244
- Male Advice Line: 0808 801 0327
- National LGBT+ domestic abuse helpline: 0800 999 5428
- Respect phone line (those worried about their behaviour): 0808 802 4040
- IN AN EMERGENCY CALL 999
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