Kim Howells the head of business development, funding and education at Threshold Das has been speaking to us about the rise in cases of domestic violence against women as part of White Ribbon Day. Kim claims that domestic violence against women transcends social status and highlighted the way in which the Llanelli based charity are working with victims and perpetrators.
We have been hearing from two of your members of staff, who eloquently explained, the situation for women with regard to domestic violence in 2019. Are you doing enough? Can more be done by others, if not, yourselves?
Kim: I think more can always be done. A long time ago we recognised that we were very good at supporting and keeping women safe, but we weren’t providing them with enough opportunities. So, what we looked at is education as a way for women to get out of the cycle of domestic violence. So we offer a range of different educational opportunities. Our active inclusion program funded by the WCVA. We have a refuge in Llanelli and we have community and outreach support. We also have a perpetrator program because we did some quite in-depth evidence-based research and what the women were saying, they didn’t want him the male) to leave. They wanted him to change his behavior. So we got some funding initially from the Big Lottery to start up our perpetrator program ‘choices’. We tried to cover all our elements to support where it is needed. I think these figures you went into with domestic violence and women as the victims, this year alone, the number of incidents has gone up. It’s one in three at the moment. 86 women have been killed since the 1st of January 2019 in the UK.
Looking at it socially. You’re a young mum, you are a single mum, two or three children perhaps. I’m just creating a little cameo. You have possibly your husband, maybe your partner who is into drugs and drink. Are these the kind of cameos that you’re seeing that are the most dominant ones?
Kim: I think not. There are lots of women that come to us, yes with a young family, single mums, alcohol abuse, drug abuse but not always. We have also had lots of professionals looking for support from all walks of life. We have had, in the last year, two people come to us for support and direction and they were millionaires. So if somebody is on benefits it doesn’t always follow that there’s going to be domestic abuse. In the same way, it doesn’t mean because someone is a professional, whether it’s a social worker, police officer, working in housing or for the local authority that they can’t be domestically abusive at home.
The Welsh Government are talking about getting children and families out of poverty. Are they doing enough for the targets to be met? We have very high rates of child poverty compared to other countries in Europe. Are they doing enough?
Kim: We have got a high level of child poverty in Wales, but so has other parts of the UK. I do think the Welsh government are very keen and engaged in making sure that our type of services is offered and that there is additional funding going into domestic abuse services. Even the limitless program funded £300,000. Part of it was from the Welsh Government to make sure that they are supporting women suffering domestic violence. So I think they are doing as much as they humanly possibly can under very tough conditions.
Image: Mayor of Llanelli John E Jones with Kim Howells