TEARS (To End Abusive Relationships Safely) Survivors Forum will be speaking out In Domestic Violence Awareness Week which takes place from 19 to 23 November in Swindon and Wiltshire.
TEARS Survivors Forum, facilitated by Swindon organisation HOMETRUTHS, brings together survivors of violence and abuse from their partners and ex-partners.
“The fear and shame kept me quiet when I was with my partner, I didn’t tell anyone for 3 years what was happening to me and my children," said Pippa. "My ex-partner appeared to be a kind and charming person to everyone but behind closed doors he was a monster. He ruled our lives and used physical force and emotional abuse to control everything we did.”
Having safely got away from her partner and rebuilt her life Pippa now attends TEARS, Swindon’s Domestic Violence Survivors Forum to share her experience along with many other survivors to improve services for others. She continued: “Having a voice and being able to tell the truth about how it was for me and my kids is amazing. No-one should have to go through what we did and if I can help make a change in any way I can then it makes it worthwhile.
TEARS is a confidential and safe place to speak out and talk directly to professionals and organisations to show them what it’s really like being a victim of domestic abuse and how hard it is to get away and stay safe.”
TEARS is a group that meets 6 times a year and looks at a range of issues from the Police call-out to the difficulties with finding a new place to live. HOMETRUTHS, a specialist domestic abuse organisation based in Swindon, brings together survivors and professionals to look at what works well and where improvements can be made in the services provided to victims fleeing domestic violence.
Kim Swinden one of the facilitators of the TEARS group explains how important awareness raising is “Many people don’t recognise that they are experiencing domestic abuse and don’t know where to turn. Many people who try and seek help don’t always get the response and service they should from agencies and organisations to ensure their safety and the safety of their children.
TEARS is a brilliant opportunity for survivors to have a voice and speak up to create positive change for others. Domestic Violence Awareness Week is a good opportunity to talk about the reality of domestic abuse and look at ways to improve. Over 2,500 incidents of domestic abuse are reported to Swindon Police every year but it’s recognised nationally that only 20% of people report domestic violence, so many more people are living in fear and can’t speak out. ”
Currently funded until March 2013 by Swindon Borough Council’s Connecting People, Connecting Places grant scheme, TEARS has met with solicitors, barristers, the South West Parliamentary Outreach Service, GWH A&E and CAFCASS to date and has plans to meet with a range of other professionals in the coming months.
Anyone who has experienced domestic abuse in the past who is interested in contributing to TEARS can get in touch with HOMETRUTHS on 01793 617589 or email@example.com.
Anyone experiencing domestic abuse currently from a partner, ex-partner or family member can get help from HOMETRUTHS.