DameEsther made patron of Swindon domestic abuse charity

By Barrie Hudson - 23 November 2020


Dame Esther Rantzen OBE has become a patron of Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service(SWA).

  • Dame Esther is best known as presenter of That's Life! and founder of Childline

    Dame Esther is best known as presenter of That's Life! and founder of Childline

The celebrity is best known as the presenter of That's Life! and as the founder of Childline. 

In 2013 she was heavily involved in the launch of Silver Line, a helpline offering support and advice for older people.

SWA works closely with victims across Swindon and Wiltshire and has a purpose-built refuge in the town that can accommodate 22 families. 

Dame Esther said: “I am delighted to become a patron of this excellent charity, which provides crucial support for those suffering domestic abuse. 

"Too often this problem is swept under the carpet, especially since many of the women and men who are the victims and survivors find it so difficult to ask for help.

“SWA also recognises the needs of a wide range of victims, including children and old people, who may be hurt physically or mentally, but are suffering in silence. 

"Tragically, domestic abuse is far more common than most people recognise, so there is an urgent need for the practical, emotional and secure support provided by this excellent charity.”

SWA CEO Emma Rawlings said: “We were fortunate to receive a grant from Independent Age which allowed us to train staff specifically to support older people.

“We planned a domestic abuse awareness webinar for people working with the elderly and I approached Dame Esther to be our guest speaker. We were absolutely thrilled when she accepted.

 “Working with older victims of domestic abuse takes very different skills and a different use of language.

“Victims may be reluctant to seek help because of generational or cultural values and our advisors have been trained to understand how to gain confidence and work with them.”

The webinar was aimed at individuals who work with older people, to help them recognise victims, support their needs, reduce risk and allow them to lead safer lives.

Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service is free and confidential, serving Swindon and the surrounding area. It operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, supporting both female and male victims of domestic violence, people in lesbian, gay and heterosexual relationships, those who are in fear of being forced into marriage and those who fall victim to honour-based violence. 

The charity also works with young people aged 16-25 who may be experiencing domestic violence or abuse as part of an intimate relationship.

SWA operates a refuge which has been purpose-built and specially designed, with 22 individual flats. It can accommodate lone females or families with children up to 18 years old and has a dedicated team of trained staff. 

In the community SWA has a network of Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVA) who work with victims within the Great Western Hospital, Doctor Surgeries and Health Centres across the town.

The dedicated helpline – 01793 610610 – is available constantly for Swindon and extends to the rest of Wiltshire every day from 5pm to 9am and on every weekend and bank holiday. 

The helpline is answered by specialist domestic abuse advisors who can provide advice and support irrespective of the time of the call.

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