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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 November, 2004, 18:25 GMT
Hidden toll of domestic violence
Domestic violence
Campaigners want victims of violence to know about the help available
Domestic violence is grossly under-estimated by the public, according to campaigners who have started 16 days of raising awareness.

Events have been organised around Wales, starting on Thursday, to draw victims' attention to available help.

One woman who suffered violence at the hands of her partner for five years said support like this had been vital.

But campaigners have said people need to be more clued-up about the extent of such violence and what to do about it.

One of the groups involved in organising the events in Wales as part of an international drive to end violence against women carried out a survey in south Wales.

I would encourage any one who is in an abusive relationship to get help
Rhian, former victim
Amnesty International said it found that 94% of people questioned in a survey it carried out thought there were up to 2,000 annual domestic violence incidents attended by police in Wales, when the actual figure was over 15,000.

Behind those statistics are women like mother-of-two Rhian from south Wales.

For five years, her partner assaulted her with objects like scissors, screwdrivers and once stabbed her with a craft knife.

Eventually, Rhian said she went to the charity Women's Aid - something she saw as her last option, as both her parents had died and her siblings lived too far away to offer her any support.

"Women's Aid provided me with valuable support," said Rhian.

"They helped me in so many ways from providing emotional support to helping me with the children.

"I would encourage any one who is in an abusive relationship to get help."

Among the events organised during the 16-day campaign are white balloons being released in Wrexham; the distribution of white ribbons in a number of towns and cities and candlelit vigils, including one at the Welsh assembly in Cardiff.



SEE ALSO:
Plea for domestic abuse victims
24 Jun 04 |  Scotland


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