Between the moment families open their first advent calendar window, until when they head back to their desks after the Christmas period, approximately 20 women will have lost their lives.
On average two women are killed by a partner or ex-partner each week in England and Wales. A further three women a week take their own life as a result of their trauma. Meanwhile many experts believe figures could be much higher.
A leading specialist charity in violence against women and girls, Solace, have created a new Christmas film focusing on a couple enjoying their festive traditions, whilst ignoring the heart wrenching abuse happening next door, not knowing when or how to take action, until tragedy strikes and it’s too late.
Jane Jutsum, Director, Solace, said:
Christmas is considered a time for family and celebration but for too many women and children it can be a time of fear and isolation. The focus of this campaign is on how too often we turn a blind eye to the violence that is around us. It’s easy to hope that someone else will do something, but to make a real change, to save lives and stop this epidemic of violence against women and girls (VAWG), we all need to do something.
Solace is urging people to spot the signs of domestic abuse that include:
1. Physical signs:
Signs of injury such as cuts, bruises, broken bones, limping, changes to appearance i.e., the way they are dressed, their weight.
2. Behavioural signs:
Appearing uncomfortable, withdrawn, nervous or tense. Also anger, irritability, difficulty regulating emotions. Using coping mechanisms i.e. self-harm, problematic use of drugs and alcohol.
3. Practical signs:
Unable to leave the house, unable to socialise, obtain education or employment, unable to answer the phone. No control over finances i.e. no access to a bank account and as highlighted in the film witnessing violence whether that’s visually or audibly.
Solace currently has more than 300 women and children living in their refuges.
Solace supports more than 20,000 women and girls each year, as well as a small but increasing number of men. During the pandemic Solace have seen an unprecedented rise in demand for their services. Calls to their London free advice line have more than doubled.
If someone spots the signs they can #DoSomething to help:
1. Never place yourself at risk, if anyone is in immediate danger call 999
2. Call a helpline like the Solace Lifeline or the National Domestic Abuse Helpline where they can offer advice depending on the circumstances
3. Donate to life-saving and life-changing women’s services helping survivors
For more information about Solace, visit: solacewomensaid.org.