SPECIAL report on White Ribbon Day by Alan Evans and Jo Halbert.
We can see behind you here a White Ribbon Day stand and items you are giving away. Domestic violence against women is a very serious issue. Never commit, excuse, or remain silent about male violence against women. I mean we, attend the courts in Llanelli and, it seems to be like an epidemic. Would you agree with that?
Threshold: Well, yes. More people are willing to speak out against it now and we are part of thresholds DAS, which is the domestic abuse service within Llanelli. We have a refuge, we support women that have been abused and we offer a training program to enable women to get on with their lives. We also offer training for women that are working to try and get them to upscale and educate themselves with really empowering women to stand up to domestic violence and realize that there is support there just locally but nationally. This one of the issues that is difficult for women to escape, there’s just not enough places for them to go to when they are suffering domestic abuse.
Threshold: Yes. I think that there is a shortage of services not in terms of refuges, but in terms of everyday support, like our outreach services then we can offer that to a wide range of people.
We know that it’s, it’s tough being a woman today. When you’re in a small community like Llanelli everybody knows each other. How difficult is it for them to sort of stay safe, remain safe, you know, when they have escaped their circumstances in Llanelli?
Threshold: Well, every case is different and I think it’s difficult to generalize because every case is different. Every woman’s circumstances are different whether they’ve got children, they’re on their own and their age, how violent their partner is. So I think every case is different. It is very important to keep that woman safe and it’s amazing the lengths some women have to go to, to be safe. And we, as a domestic abuse service, Threshold we support women to do that. We’ve got lots of policies and procedures in place that actually support women to remain safe. And we do a lot of networking with other organizations so that we give the women a lot of support locally.
And we know that obviously in a lot of these instances there are children involved. How difficult is it to you know, work with them and sort of explain things?
Threshold: I think the impact on the children is significant as well and we offer services to help all the family in general, not just the woman or the father so it can be for the children we offer counselling in various forms for them as well. I think they are definitely coming together now and it’s all about collaborative working like safeguarding programme. So people are willing now not to just say, oh we can’t go there, We don’t know where to go. It is a collaborative situation with lots of organisations and with the general public as well. This is why we’re here today because people are willing to stand up and say, ‘no’, this shouldn’t be happening. This is why we have put on this event today it is to raise awareness.
As far as funding goes. Are you okay with funding? Do you need more funding? How do you fund it?
Threshold: Is anyone ever okay with funding? We do have a lot of support. We’re very grateful for the people that do support us. But it’s always a tough, issue with any organization that is a charity to get funding, you know, and it is tough.
I think people stereotype generally in a lot of instances they want to pigeon hole things. This is something that affects women no matter what your class, no matter what your status or what your earnings are isn’t it?
Threshold: We can have professional women as well who have important jobs in terms of their career so it can affect every woman as you said.
What advice would you give to any woman today that’s suffering domestic abuse? Is there a helpline?
Threshold: Yes. Speak to someone, be it a friend, colleague, um, just speak to someone and we’ve got a helpline which is manned 24/7 so people can ring up. We are on social media, um, and just speak to someone and don’t suffer alone because people are very supportive and there are charities like us out there that will help women get through this.
What is the purpose today? This is an awareness event?
Threshold: Yes, to raise awareness and get people to see, not afraid to speak up and not to hide it behind closed doors, but to know that there is support, like threshold out there that will support women and we are a local charity and we’ll just raising awareness locally.