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Page last updated at 12:53 GMT, Thursday, 23 September 2010 13:53 UK
Slough tackles domestic violence rise with new policy
by Emma Midgley
BBC Berkshire Reporter

Woman with head in hands
Victims of domestic violence can be prevented from going to work

Reported incidents of domestic violence have risen 7% in Slough, prompting the council to change how it deals with the issue as an employer.

Sophie Wing-King is domestic abuse co-ordinator for Berkshire east, and said a new policy to help victims of abuse should be in place this month.

Slough Borough Council hopes to make it easier for victims of domestic abuse to tell their employers and get support.

It also hopes to educate and help perpetrators of domestic violence.

Controlling relationship

Ms Wing-King said many victims of domestic violence were prevented from going to work by their partner, so it was possible for employers to detect signs that their staff could be victims of abuse at home.

Slough Council's new policy will try to ensure that every employee who is experiencing domestic abuse has the right to raise the issue with the Council, in the knowledge that the matter will be treated seriously, effectively and confidentially.

A nurse based in Berkshire told BBC Radio Berkshire's Andrew Peach how domestic violence had affected her.

Caren experienced abuse during a ten-year relationship which ended twelve years ago.

Caren said her husband had been controlling, isolating her from friends and family, and even making decisions about what she wore.

Domestic abuse wasn't talked about in those days.
Caren, who experienced domestic abuse during her 10 year marriage

"It was a drip, drip, drip effect," she said.

"If I put nail varnish on, he would call me a prostitute.

"I stopped having friends over.

"It was quite emotionally controlling. He used to make the decisions about everything, so I lost the ability to make my own choices.

"I was trying to do everything I could do to please him really."

Caren said she did not realise at first that her husband was abusive.

"It was my first serious relationship, so I didn't really have anything else to go by and compare it to," she said.

I was quite a confident person at work.

"I put on a professional appearance and that was my distraction really."

However, Caren's husband resented her career and was jealous of her success.

Caren said she found it hard to talk about the abuse she was suffering with friends and family.

"This happened about 12 years ago now, and domestic abuse just wasn't talked about in those days," she said.

"I just knew that it was wrong and I was extremely unhappy."

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