BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 11 December, 2002, 15:54 GMT
Helpline for domestic violence
Violence victim (portrayed by model)
Violence between partners causes homelessness
A 24-hour free phoneline is being set up for victims of domestic violence, funded by the government and Comic Relief.

The national helpline, backed by Tony Blair and television presenter Davina McCall, starts operating next autumn and will offer support, information and translation services.

Its main aim is to reduce levels of homelessness caused by the family break-ups that domestic violence creates.

The helpline will be set up alongside an online database with information about professional services and refuge accommodation for victims.

Far too many women struggle for years to cope with violence in the home and often they don't tell anyone

Davina McCall
And an extra 7m will be given to fund the building of new refuges.

The new service was launched at a Women's Aid venue in Hackney, north-east London, one of the two charities which will run the helpline, with Refuge.

Figures show domestic violence accounts for a quarter of recorded crime in England and Wales and is related to 16% of homelessness cases.

Hackney Women's Aid director Marai Larasi said: "Women should be able to access all services as quickly as possible.

"They should not have to be stuck in telephone boxes worried about their money going while trying to access help for domestic violence."

Domestic violence in England and Wales
Causes a quarter of recorded crime
Causes 16% of homelessness
Reason for one-third of all murders
Two women each week killed by partner or ex-partner

Source: Home Office
The helpline is receiving 1m each from the government and Comic Relief.

Chairman of the ministerial group on domestic violence, John Denham, said: "The difficulty women have had getting access to information has been a key problem."

He added that tackling domestic violence could have a "big impact" on bringing down crime rates.

The scheme was earlier endorsed by Big Brother presenter Davina McCall at a drop-in centre in King's Cross, central London.

Davina McCall
Davina McCall backed the helpline
The TV presenter said: "Far too many women struggle for years to cope with violence in the home and often they don't tell anyone.

"When they do find the courage to leave, it can be difficult to find somewhere safe for children and themselves."

Prime minister Tony Blair was also at the Field Lane Family Centre in King's Cross to back the government initiative.

He took the opportunity to support his wife Cherie over her links with convicted fraudster Peter Foster.

Last month the Conservative party launched a campaign to highlight the "hidden" problem of domestic violence over Christmas, by distributing 10,000 posters advertising violence helplines.

Caroline Spelman, shadow minister for women, welcomed the government move but warned that a "fully co-ordinated response" was needed to tackle the root causes.

Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes