SURVIVORS of domestic abuse have joined together to set up a support group to help others who find themselves in a similar situation.
Tamasin Wedgwood, aged 46, of Ramsey, who moved to the island with her two daughters to escape from five years of abuse from her husband, is one of those behind the charity.
The plan is for Safe, Strong, Secure – once fully established – to provide support groups for people – both women and men and of all ages – to go along to.
In addition there will be a telephone line for people to call if they want someone to talk to, and from where they can be referred to for a range of practical help, such as housing and legal advice.
Tamasin moved to the island, where she has family, from the United States in 2010 after five years of escalating abuse.
She said that she wanted to set up the charity because of the invaluable support she received at the time from a support group run by a women’s refuge.
‘It would have been desperate without that group,’ she revealed. ‘Having that experience and knowing how much it helped me makes me want to do it. Knowing how hard it was for the whole family, I want to help other families in the hope it doesn’t happen to other families in the future, and when it does happen that there is support for them.’
In November, about 60 people – many of whom had suffered abuse – attended a two day course on the issue in Ramsey.
‘By the end of the weekend everyone was saying we’ve got to do something.’
A working party of about 15, which also includes the police, and representatives from churches and other charities and organisations has been meeting once a week towards the launch.
About six of them, mostly survivors of abuse, will be charity trustees.
Once that has been arranged, they will be looking at fundraising initiatives, including taking part in the Parish Walk in June.
Tamasin said that they were keen to work with other organisations that might be able to help.
They include Victim Support, ManxSPCA (through which it is hoped that pets will be looked after until they have moved into safe accommodation), Samaritans and Salvation Army.
Constable Judith Bradford, domestic abuse co-ordinator with the police, supports the charity’s formation.
Domestic abuse is defined by the police as any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, emotional, financial, sexual or physical) between adults who are, or who have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender.
She said that one in three women and one in four men suffer domestic abuse at some point in their life.
In the island last year, there were 370 incidents reported to the police – and it is believed that only one in 37 incidents are reported.
Anyone who would like to be trained as a domestic abuse advisor or who would like to help is asked to email Tamasin at tamasinwedgwood(at)yahoo.com
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