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Proud to be Wiltshire Life Award Winners 2017

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Watch this excellent video that celebrates the Wiltshire Life Awards 2017.  We are so proud to have won Community Group of the Year!!

 

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We Are WINNERS of Wiltshire Life 2017 Community Group of the Year!!!

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HOMETRUTHS are very proud to have won the Wiltshire Life 2017 Community Group of the Year Award.  We attended a black tie dinner event on Friday as finalists and were bowled away to have won!

There were 27 nominees in the Community Group of the Year Category and we never expected to win and went along very proud to be finalists!

We received a framed certificate and an engraved glass award.

Thank you so much to the Judges who chose us and to the Salisbury branch of Investment firm Smith & Williamson that sponsored the Community Group Award.

Congratulations to the winners of the other categories and thank you to Wiltshire Life for a wonderful evening!

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International Women's Day 2017 Swindon Event

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A huge thank you to all our Volunteers who helped run the HOMETRUTHS stall at the Swindon International Women's Day event on Saturday 4th March. 

Every year IWD is celebrated with a well attended event at Swindon Library helping to raise awarness of the support and empowerment available to women and girls living in Swindon. 

To find out more click the following link: http://www.iwdswindon.org/

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We've Been Shortlisted for the Wiltshire Life Awards 2017!!!

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We are very proud to have been shortlisted for the Wiltshire Life Awards 2017 Community Group of the Year category!!

This is really exciting for us to be considered for an award and the winners will be announced at the ceremony on Thursday 24th February at the Devizes Corn Exchange... our fingers are crossed!

Find out more at the Wiltshire Life website: http://www.wiltshirelifeawards.com/ceremony

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Interview on BBC Wiltshire Radio

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Listen to the interview between our ex-service user and Graham Seaman on BBC Wiltshire Radio.  Thank you Jo for your bravery in speaking out: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04qtz43

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Police Stats Show Crimes Against Wiltshire Women up by 500%

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Recent figures show that reporting of offences against women including rape and assault, to Wiltshire Police has risen by 500% in the past 5 years.

Read more in this online report:

http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/news/15004235.Crimes_against_Wiltshire_women_up_by_more_than_500_/

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21-26 November is Domestic Violence Awareness Week

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This week is Domestic Violence Awareness Week.

We will be helping to raise awareness within Swindon and North Wiltshire of what domestic abuse is and what we can offer to survivors of domestic abuse whether they are in abusive relationships, are experiencing domestic abuse from ex-partners or have a history of domestic abuse that still effects them today.

We look forward to meeting lots of new people this week and helping to spread the word!

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Please Vote For HOMETRUTHS

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We would really appreciate your votes in the Galaxy Hot Chocolate Fund Award 2016/17.

You can vote until 26th February 2017.

Seventy £300 donations will be made and it would be great to win one of them!  Please share with family and friends so we get as many votes as possible!!

https://www.galaxyhotchocolate.com/fund/profiles/hometruths

Thank you

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Calne & Swindon Freedom Programmes

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New Freedom Programmes will be starting in Calne and Swindon from September 2016.

Both are rolling programmes where women can join at any time.

We welcome referrals from agencies, professionals and women themselves.

Any woman aged 16+ who is or has experienced domestic abuse is welcome to attend and a free creche is available at both groups for children under school age.

Freedom is a safe and confidential place for women to explore their experiences of domestic abuse by partners or ex-partners.  Both of our groups are facilitated by experienced and qualified domestic abuse supoort workers, who can also support attendees outside of the group setting.

Women who have attended before say:

"I felt forced to come to the group (because of a child protection plan) but after the second session I enjoyed coming and found it gave me more confidence and knowledge... I feel stronger each week!"

"I felt confused, drained, my head was messy.  Having people to share my experience with and not to be judged is good for me and has made me feel much happier."

"Probably one of the best things I have ever done.  I did not want to come and avoided turning up to the group at the start but now I see it is so helpful and motivating."

If you have not been to the Freedom Programme group before and feel you would like to try it out please contact us by text or phone call 07999 494723, ring the office on 01793 617589 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

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Wiltshire & Swindon Victim Forum

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HOMETRUTHS has been invited to be a member of the Wiltshire & Swindon Victim Forum. 

We attended yesterday's meeting and heard about the Wiltshire Police & Crime Commisioner's Police & Crime Plan updates for 2017 onwards.

We gave an update about our service and projects and heard from the other attendees including: Wiltshire Victim Support, Citizens Advice Witness Service, Probation services, Wiltshire Mind, Swindon and Wiltshire Trading Standards and Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust.

We were able to contribute to the workshop sessions looking at improving the experiences of victims and witnesses in the Criminal Justice System.

HOMETRUTHS supports victims and survivors of domestic abuse who use the criminal justice system and also those who for whatever reasons don't or can't report what they are experiencing or have experienced.  Domestic abuse became a crime in England and Wales at the end of last year which means victims of domestic abuse who are expereincing emotional and psychological abuse can report to the Police.

We facilitate a Survivors' Forum that helps inform our services and also engages with partner agencies and aims to improve the systems for other survivors of domestic abuse. 

 

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Lunch Event with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall

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HOMETRUTHS was very privileged to be invited to Clarence House by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall yesterday together with celebrities including: Julie Walters, Jamelia, Alesha Dixon, Patrick Stewart and Fiona Bruce, representatives of organisations including: The White Ribbon Campaign, Refuge, Welsh Women's Aid, NSPCC, NCDV, Barnardo's, Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Victim Support, SafeLives, Women's Equality Party and the Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Royal College of Midwives.

Lunch was held on the lawn of Clarence House - home of HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH Camilla The Duchess of Cornwall, and The Duchess of Cornwall made a speech where she stated "Domestic abuse remains a hidden issue in our society... it is characterised by silence ... this silence is corrosive: it leaves women, children - and men - carrying the burden of shame, it prevents them from speaking out about their abuse and it prevents them from getting help. And at its worst, it can be fatal."

We are so pleased to have been recognised by HRH Duchess of Cornwall for the work we provide at grass roots level in Swindon & Wiltshire and to have been a guest at such a high profile event.

It is so important that domestic abuse is talked about and properly addressed if we are to make changes for survivors and victims.

Read more about the event: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3690416/Duchess-Cornwall-delivers-heartfelt-speech-support-domestic-abuse-victims-Clarence-House.html

Listen to Woman's Hour Programme live from the event.  The piece begins at 19 mins and 40 seconds into the show: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07kld9m

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TEARS Survivors' Forum Awarded £1,500

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HOMETRUTHS is really pleased to have been awarded £1,500 by Swindon Charity Ball 2016 to help fund our TEARS Survivors' Forum!

The funding will help us to continue to run the forum for survivors of domestic abuse who want to use their experience to create social change.

We will be able to buy video and audio equipment to help raise awareness and spread the word to a greater audience.

A huge thank you to the organisers who chose us as one of this years' beneficiaries.

Read more in the following article: http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/14599523.Community_projects_get_more_cash_after_record_breaking_Charity_Ball/

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Life In Harmony Launch for Professionals

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We were really pleased to host a launch event for professionals across Swindon & North Wiltshire to come and find out more about our new project Life In Harmony for pregnant women and mums with children under 18 months experiencing domestic abuse from partners or ex-partners.

Over 40 attendees joined us and enjoyed a lunch which was funded by Zurich - thank you very much to them for their support.

Detective Inspector Andy Fee from Wiltshire Police, Kathryn Beale from OPTIMUM Doula, Carol Burn from Art Is Me and Kate Charlesworth from Chippenham Community Hospital all gave interesting presentations, followed by 6 ex-service users who talked about their expereinces of domestic abuse and what was helpful to them.

Feedback from the attendees was excellent and the event ran smoothly thanks to the help of a team of HOMETRUTHS' Volunteers.

To find out more about the event visit our facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hometruths/412707892082213

and to find out more about the project or to ask for help or information either as a woman experiencing or having experienced domestic abuse, or if you are a professional working with a client who would benefit from the project please contact us:

01793 617589 - please leave message on answer phone if we are all busy

07999 494723 - please text or call

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

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HOMETRUTHS speaks on BBC Radio about The Archer's

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Thank you to BBC Wiltshire Radio for inviting us to speak today on the morning show about the impact of The Archer's domestic abuse story.

The BBC radio soap has been running a storyline of domestic abuse by a character called Rob Titchener on his wife Helen over the past 2.5 years and it culminated last night in Helen stabbing and killing Rob when he turned on their son Henry.

We were really pleased to be invited to talk about the power of awareness raising through soap storylines, together with Swindon Women's Aid in discussion with DJ Jonathan Morrell.

The storyline has already raised £80,000 for national charities.

The following article written by Louiza Patikas who plays Helen, talks about her understanding that domestic abuse can happen to anyone: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/01/helen-archers-domestic-abuse-husband-louisa-patikas

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International Women's Day, Swindon

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A huge thank you to our Volunteers who helped out at Swindon's International Women's Day event on Saturday. 

International Women's Day is celebrated in countries across the world to value the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world.

It also aims to highligt inequalities and difficulties women face.

An example is new data published by the Fawcett Society that despite the Equal Pay Act being introduced 40 years ago, on average women earn £5,732 less than men every year.   This equates to £300,000 less over their working lives than men.

Swindon's event was well attended and a great day was had by everyone!

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Government Changes to Legal Aid for D.V Ruled 'Invalid'

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In 2012, Chris Grayling the Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary at the time, made fundamental changes to Legal Aid under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

The changes included criteria that Legal Aid could only be awarded in family law cases where claimants were able to show evidence that they had suffered domestic abuse in the last 24 months.

Evidence inluded: prosecution of offenders, non-molestation orders, medical evidence of injuries and living in Refuges, all of which essentially required a formal statutory record of abuse.  This has resulted in many victims not being eligible for Legal Aid as the majority do not report what is happening at the time.

The charity Rights of Women took the decision to the Appeal Court in London yesterday after their research found that 40% of women responding to their survey didn't have the required evidence to apply for Legal Aid.

http://www.theguardian.com/law/2016/feb/18/changes-to-legal-aid-for-domestic-violence-victims-ruled-invalid

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Survivors Help with Pathways To Justice Report

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Five survivors of domestic abuse who are involved with our Survivors' Forum, met with an Ipsos MORI researcher in April 2015 to contribute to research for the Ministry of Justice study 'The Varying Pathways To Justice'.

The research has been published and is available on the Government website GOV.UK.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/484182/varying-paths-to-justice.pdf

Thank you to those who contributed and it's great to know the Survivors Forum has been able to contribute to a very worthwhile piece of research.

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New Domestic Abuse Law from 29th December 2015

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The changes to UK criminal law now mean that a sentence of up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine can be given to perpetrators of emotional and psychological abuse.  Until now only offences of physical assault could be prosecuted. 

If a victim suffers serious alarm or distress that impacts on their day-to-day life or if there have been at least 2 occasions where they have been in fear of violence then the Police and Crown Prosecution Service can now charge and prosecute as a result of coercive and controlling behaviour getting recognition under criminal law.

There are concerns that the Police fail to arrest, and the CPS fail to prosecute cases of physical violence, so how they will evidence and prosecute often subtle emotional abuse that victims themselves frequently struggle to recognise or "prove" even to themselves?

Also that the issue of domestic abuse is totally misunderstood if physical and emotional abuse are seen as separate offences - every case of domestic abuse has coercive controlling behaviour at its core, physical violence is only one method of behaviour used by some perpetrators of domestic abuse to gain control.  Many victims of domestic homicides have been murdered by a partner or former partner who never previously used any physical violence.

It is also common for coercive and controlling perpetrators to extend their methods beyond just their victim to include extended family, friends and professionals and this can make them very effective in hiding and manipulating in multiple ways.  Recognising behaviour as coercive with the intention of gaining control is essential and the risks that some professionals may not see this or misunderstand what is happening or believe it to be unintentional raises risks for victims and survivors.

Domestic abuse is a complex issue.  Specialist domestic abuse services like HOMETRUTHS are essential in ensuring victims and survivors receive the individual support to recognise and understand their experience of abuse and then the correct help to ensure they are safe.

Often the generic services that have limited knowledge and understanding can make uninformed decisions that can impact negatively on a victim or their ability to stay safe.

There is also the additional concern that there isn't a similar change to the Family Court System that can make its own rulings about whether or not domestic abuse happened and decide how or even if this impacts on the children and then decide how perpetratros have access with the children.  Emotional abuse using children as a tool of manipulation is extremely common and it often continues once a relatonship has ended when perpetrators are able to use Family Courts as a route to continued contact with an ex-partner through child contact.

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Huge Thank You to Zurich!

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A HUGE THANK YOU to Zurich for helping us to have a Christmas Party for the children of the service users we have supported in 2015.

Party food and games, a visit from Santa and then we went to watch Snow White - the Panto at The Wyvern Theatre.

A brilliant time was had by everyone - a special thank you to Jo and Aaren from Zurich and to our Volunteers Sam, Sue, Callum, Sian and Denise!

Merry Christmas!

 

 

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Talking About Our New Life in Harmony Project

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Listen to BBC Wiltshire Radio Breakfast Show in the morning to hear us talking about our new Life In Harmony Project and hear the story of one of our ex-service users sharing her experience of domestic abuse.  Life In Harmony is a new 3 year project for pregnant women and mothers with young babies who are exeriencing abuse or violence from their partner or ex-partner.

We will be on the air just after 10am speaking to presenter Jonathan Morell.

 

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