A leading family lawyer who works closely with local victim abuse organisations is urging not just women, but anyone who suffers abuse at the hands of their partner this Christmas, to seek immediate help to prevent their situation from becoming any worse.
Nathan Wright, a partner with Wrexham based law firm GHP Legal and one of only a handful of qualified family mediators in the area, says this time of year is always one of great concern for those involved in family law.
“It is estimated that around 3 million women alone experience rape, domestic violence, forced marriage, stalking, sexual exploitation, trafficking and other forms of violence every year in the UK,” he says. “That’s equivalent to the population of Wales and does not include an increasing number of men who also suffer relationship and other abuse.
“But,historically, incidents of domestic abuse are greatly increased at this time of year, often due to higher levels of alcohol being consumed. We know for certain that more women seek refuge and help from Women’s Aid over the Christmas period and that there are many more who will simply suffer in silence. In some instances they will die at the hands of their abusers.
“I would urge anyone who suffers domestic abuse to seek immediate help. Help is available, both emotionally and practically. In particular people should be aware that despite the cuts in legal aid and the requirement for family law cases to now go to mediation before they can go to court, there is one exception to both rules – and that is a case involving domestic abuse.
“So my message to abuse victims this Christmas is ‘don’t be afraid, seek help’. People can call the All Wales Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Helpline any hour of the day or night, in complete confidence, on 0808 80 10 800.”