Local domestic abuse charity VOICES has been recognised for its outstanding contribution working to end violence against women and girls.
Bath MP and Lib Dem Spokesperson for Equalities Wera Hobhouse launched a new award, Best of Bath, to recognise organisations and individuals supporting women and girls who have experienced violence. Wera is campaigning to make misogyny a hate crime which would target the root cause of violence against women and girls.
Wera Hobhouse said:
“Violence against women and girls can be lethal and it must be stamped out. Domestic abuse causes trauma that can last a lifetime for everyone it touches. Tragically the incidence of domestic abuse increased significantly during lockdown.
“We were fortunate to have several worthy nominees. I am delighted to recognise VOICES with the first Best of Bath Award. VOICES is a survivor-led charity. It focuses on recovery, supporting those living with and beyond domestic abuse to recover from their trauma by putting the voice of lived experience at the centre of all service delivery planning.
“During the pandemic, VOICES redoubled their efforts to make sure that no one was forgotten or became invisible. They demonstrated daily small acts of kindness and care and coped with the enormous strains put on them with good humour and care for one another. They are the best of society and we are so fortunate to have them.”
Ursula Lindenberg, Chief Executive of VOICES said:
“We are very proud to receive this recognition for our work. In Bath & North East Somerset, research shows almost 40% of survivors do not tell anyone in the community that they are affected by domestic abuse. This makes it extremely important to create accessible ways to get help. VOICES provides a gateway into services by enabling survivors to refer themselves for help and by building trust in a trauma-informed way.
“Enabling people to get help at the earliest opportunity and building awareness of domestic abuse in the wider community go hand in hand. VOICES channels the expertise of people who have experienced abuse to create training and share insights with local professionals and community organisations. Until survivors are at the heart and start of shaping services, and those services are properly resourced, the enormous impact of domestic abuse will continue to generate disadvantage and isolation in our communities.
“All victims and survivors of abuse deserve and need appropriate, specialist community-based support. As in other areas, however, the vast majority of identified victims and survivors are female. Women and girls facing violence and abuse deserve specialist support that takes account of their trauma and recovery needs. VOICES' new centre will provide this within an independent, accessible and confidential setting in Bath for the city and surrounding areas.”