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Refuge - The Campaign against Domestic Violence
Refuge is a UK based charity which provides women and children suffering from domestic violence with help, advice, support and a safe house if need be.
"My experiences as a young barrister made me determined to help end domestic violence. I represented many women who had been brutally beaten by their husband - it was always shocking to see them arrive at court with cuts and bruises, particularly when they had children.
As a patron of Refuge, and a trustee for a decade, I have remained in touch with abused women and their children, so I understand what it is to live with domestic violence, in fear and isolation. Despite the real advances in recent years in the way domestic violence is confronted in the UK, I know there is still much to be done.
Refuge opened the world's first women's refuge in 1971 in Chiswick, London. It was a time when people rarely talked about domestic violence, when what went on behind closed doors was considered private and no one else's business.
Women and children flocked to that first safe house in West London. For the first time, a clear message had been sent out that domestic violence was not something to be quietly endured or ignored. What had gone on for centuries behind closed doors was at last brought out into the open. Refuge has led the campaign to end domestic violence ever since. Refuge's work is invaluable to the many thousands of women it supports each year. Yet it cannot solve the problem alone. Unless we all stand up and say that we will not tolerate domestic violence, it will continue to flourish in our society.
Too many of us still believe the myths surrounding domestic violence: that it only happens in deprived areas, among the unemployed, or where there is alcohol or drugs. We blame the woman, saying she probably asked for it, even that she enjoyed it. And by using these excuses we explain away the problem without having to deal with it.
Every one of us must examine our attitude towards domestic violence and take responsibility for challenging it." Cherie Blair, Patron of Refuge
Some statistics from Refuge
• Two women are killed each week by a current or former partner in England
• One woman in four will experience domestic violence at some time in her life
• An incident of domestic violence occurs in the UK every six to twenty seconds
• The police receive a domestic violence call every 60 seconds - yet only
approx. 35% of cases are reported to the police
• In family households where domestic violence occurs, in 90% of incidents,
children were in the same or the next room - in over 50% of known domestic
violence cases, children were also directly abused
• Domestic violence accounts for more than ¼ of all violent recorded crime
reported to the police
• Domestic violence costs the tax payer more than £23billion a year
"Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation. And it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture, or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development, and peace." UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, 1999
To make a donation and to learn more about Refuge Click here