The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead and The Dash Charity are reminding all victims of domestic abuse that support is always available to help them take that first step to safety.
Ahead of White Ribbon Day on 25 November, the partners are also encouraging everyone to help counter male violence towards women and girls, by challenging abusive attitudes and behaviours, such as cat-calling and sexist remarks.
Nationally, it is estimated that one in four women and one in six men experience some form of domestic abuse at some point in their life – whether that be physical, sexual, violent or threatening behaviour, controlling or coercive behaviour, economic, psychological, emotional or other abuse.
In the Royal Borough, there were 3,059 domestic abuse-related incidents recorded by police during 2022/23 – an average of eight reports a day. The Dash Charity, which provides the council’s domestic abuse support service, received 690 referrals into their adult support service and 103 referrals into their children’s programme.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, support is available 24/7. In an emergency, always call 999. If you can’t speak, call 999, listen to the call handler and answer questions, either by pushing buttons or coughing. If prompted, press 55 to let the operator know it’s a genuine emergency.
If you don’t want to speak to the police, The Dash Charity helpline – 01753 549865 – is open Monday-Wednesday from 9.30am-2.30pm and Thursday - Friday 9.30am-4pm. https://thedashcharity.org.uk Alternatively, you can call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline which is free and open 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247. www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk
The council’s Housing Service can provide advice, support and emergency safe housing 24/7 for victims within the borough. If calling Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, please contact our housing duty team on 01628 683803. The out-of-hours contact is 01344 786543.
All libraries are designated safe spaces where staff are trained to discreetly seek help for victims. Several local pharmacies also offer safe spaces for victims. See the locations at https://uksaysnomore.org/safespaces
Councillor Catherine del Campo, Cabinet member for adults, health and housing services, said: “Violence and abuse of any sort has no place in our borough and we’re proud to work with The Dash Charity, the police and other partners to support victims to regain control of their lives. Unfortunately, abuse is often underreported.
“If you’re affected, please remember that you are not alone and support is available 24/7 to help you take that first step to safety. There are lots of different ways you can discreetly reach out for support.
“While White Ribbon Day itself is focussed on female victims of violence, anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse in its various forms. We have specialist support available for men, women, same-sex couples and children. There is no excuse for abuse, so please seek help if you are impacted.
“The theme of this year’s White Ribbon Day is ‘Change the Story’. We can all play a part in tackling male violence, abuse and harassment towards women and girls, by calling out the seemingly ‘harmless’ attitudes, behaviours and regular micro-aggressions towards women and girls which can lead to serious consequences.”
Nicola Miller, Chief Executive of The Dash Charity, said: “Domestic abuse and its effects can be destructive, yet it still remains an issue which is hidden, stigmatised and one which makes for uncomfortable conversation. The Dash Charity receives nearly 1,000 referrals and enquiries for support throughout the year, the majority still involving men’s violence towards women and girls.
“Our services are for local victims and survivors of domestic abuse of any gender, but White Ribbon Day and the global UN campaign ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence’ recognise that one in four women and girls will be affected by domestic abuse and are more likely to suffer from gender-based violence in their lifetimes.
“Through awareness-raising campaigns like this one, we will continue working to change the narrative. Even small actions, like individuals and organisations calling out the seemingly ‘harmless’ attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate violence for women and girls, can create the ripples for greater change.”