PRESS RELEASE From Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuge & Support Services
Liz Needham, Chair of Trustees at the Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuge & Support Services (WHWR) welcomes the announcement that Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, has secured funding to tackle domestic abuse in the county after a sharp rise during the pandemic. She said, “Over the past year, domestic violence services have experienced unprecedented demand exacerbated further by the global Covid pandemic. We have experienced an increase in complex cases and those involving serious injury. We welcome the emphasis on prevention, which puts the onus on domestic violence perpetrators to reform rather than putting the onus on abuse survivors to keep themselves safe”.
The Refuge plans to launch a “Lunch and Learn” initiative with local companies where employees who are victims or perpetrators will learn how to understand the impact of, recognise the signs of domestic violence and what to do next.
Denise Fenn, WHWR CEO said, “A knowledgeable, safe, and supportive workplace response does make a real difference to an individual’s journey out of an abusive situation and their longer-term prospects. Together, we will be helping people upstream, and before they fall into the life destroying consequences of abuse and violence”.
According to the Commissioner, domestic abuse was the only crime type to see a rise in Hertfordshire during the COVID-19 pandemic. WHWR has seen a big increase in referrals to the Refuge and is currently operating at 100% capacity.
WHWR is an independent refuge that works with outside agencies to provide accommodation and support services to women and children fleeing abuse. They also take self-referrals.