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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2008, 10:43 GMT
Calls up to domestic abuse line
Domestic violence
The domestic abuse helpline has been a 24 hour service for a year
Calls made to the all-Wales domestic abuse helpline have risen by more than 25% since it became a 24-hour service.

Welsh Women's Aid said more than 1,400 extra calls were made over a six month period, compared to the year before when it operated for 12 hours.

The helpline employs six specialist advisers in Penygroes, Gwynedd and is funded by assembly government.

Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said combating domestic abuse was a priority.

Between April and September 2007, the helpline received 6,673 calls compared with 5,258 for the same period in the previous year when it was a 12 hour service.

The free, confidential service offers advice and support for women, children and men suffering domestic abuse.

The assembly government provided almost 700,000 funding over a three year period from 2004 to set up the line and another 250,000 to provide 24-hour cover from January last year.

Domestic abuse affects people from all walks of life, and people should not have to suffer in silence
Tracey Owens, helpline manager

On average 49 women every day contact Welsh Women's Aid, an umbrella organisation for local women's aid service providers in Wales, because of domestic violence.

It also estimates that one in 10 women are severely beaten by their partner and 150,000 children and young people are affected in some way by domestic abuse at any one time.

Tracey Owens, manager of the helpline, said it had taken 3,500 new callers in 2007 and more than half of these wanted emergency refuge accommodation.

"The development of the service to provide a 24-hour bilingual helpline for the whole of Wales has been invaluable," she said.

"Vital service"

"Domestic abuse affects people from all walks of life, and people should not have to suffer in silence."

Mr Jones, who made a private visit to the centre, said victims of domestic abuse needed this kind of support.

"The demand for this vital service is clearly demonstrated by the number of calls received," he said.

The 24-hour free helpline for anyone suffering domestic abuse is 0808 80 10 800.

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