Victims of Domestic Abuse in West Dorset, ‘Reclaim the Night’

Tracey West, has been an active, noisy patron of WAND, the Women’s Action Network Dorset, since 2011 and is frequently a media spokesperson on the plight of those affected by domestic abuse. In 2014, she chaired the multi-agency No Excuse for Abuse Conference, jointly funded and co–hosted by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Dorset, and WAND.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 9,362 reported cases of domestic abuse in 2015 in Dorset, meaning 1.32% of the population (710,500) reported a domestic abuse crime in that single year.

Nationally, data from the year ending March 2015, showed that women were more likely to be victims of domestic abuse than other demographic groups and 12.6% of women aged 16 to 19 were victims in the last year. In comparison, 6.1% of all adults were victims of domestic abuse for the same time period.

Tracey explains, “Domestic abuse can happen to absolutely anyone and some of the stories I’ve heard from women survivors in our county alone, would chill you to the core. I read a report in 2014 stating that Dorset police dealt with a case of domestic abuse every hour of the day. Officers received around 700 reports of it each month across the county and dealt with more than 36,000 incidents of it between 2010/14”.

There are a handful of organisations working incredibly hard throughout Dorset to help victims of domestic abuse, including WAND, who are perhaps best described as a public awareness raising platform for various women’s issues and also a fundraising arm that regularly supports the West Dorset Women’s Refuge.

On Saturday 26th November from 7-10.30pm, WAND are hosting their annual Reclaim the Night Event at Dorchester Town Hall. Tickets are £3.00 on the door and all are welcome.Continue Reading

Why I’m Patron of WAND

I’ve been an active, noisy patron of WAND, the Women’s Action Network Dorset, since 2011 and have spoken out many times about the plight of those affected by domestic abuse at public events, on the radio and in the press.

In 2014, I had the honourable task of chairing the multi-agency No Excuse for Abuse Conference as part of Domestic Abuse Awareness Week, which was jointly funded and co–hosted by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Dorset, and WAND. I met some incredible ladies there including the amazing soul responsible for Eve’s Law; read more here.

I have met lots of women with terrifying domestic violence stories during my time serving WAND and it’s no surprise to learn I’m a strong supporter of the Dorset Women’s Refuge. I do what I can to raise awareness and funds for this vital resource, hence this post.

It’s a sad state of affairs when you learn these vital organisations needs to raise their own funds in order to survive. The government should quite simply fund all safe refuges, countrywide, for women, men and the LGBT community (you wouldn’t believe how scarce these refuges are) allowing any monies the individual organisations manage to raise, to pay for gratefully welcomed treats for the souls who need to use the service.

There are many reasons behind my passion for helping WAND and they are fuelled by a report I read back in 2014 stating that Dorset police had dealt with a case of domestic violence, every hour of the day. Officers received around 700 reports of domestic abuse each month across the county and dealt with more than 36,000 incidents of domestic violence between 2010/14 – that’s crazy.

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Divorce Sucks, so write your way out of it

I had the delightful misfortune of having to go through that human mangle some years back and despite the fact that I have found love the other side of it, the scars still cut deep.

I was hurt, my kids were hurt and my bank balance haemorrhaged faster than the British economy. Uncertainty was the only thing I was certain of and my heart felt like a Premier Division football. I can remember even now the physical pain in my chest, as I ached to be the other side of the proceedings. Physically looking at the paperwork was a daily nightmare and watching the termination of something that should have been good playing out in solicitorial ping pong, grated the tender flesh of my very soul.

I bloody hated getting divorced and yet I wanted it so much – such juxtaposition and so many of my days wastefully lost during the process.

There are several ill advised coping mechanisms often used by people going through this particular living nightmare. They can be indulged occasionally, or to excess, and in no particular order they include alcohol, drugs, chocolate, chips, bitching about it, crying incessantly, staring at the wall, being quiet and retreating from the world, releasing maximum wrath on your ex, smearing them on your social media and using your children as emotional pawns.

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