PROFESSIONALS working in the field of domestic violence gathered in Swindon for a major conference hosted by local charity Hometruths.

The event, which took place at The Meadow, in Leigh Road, Penhill, was entitled Womb To Womanhood, and saw experts from the fields of psychology, academia and law talk about issues related to tackling with the issue.

Professionals from local authorities, children’s centres and the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst paid to attend the day, which doubles as a fundraiser for the charity.

The day started with a talk from a client of Hometruths about the impact it had on her children, her experiences of accessing help from statutory services and the difference the charity made.

This was followed by a talk from psychologist Karen Meager about the stress of living with domestic abuse has on pregnant women, the impact on unborn babies, and the mother’s ability to bond with her child.

Research findings were presented by Dr Emma Williamson on the impact of domestic violence on women’s experiences of homelessness and poverty, and how GPs can better respond to the needs of male patients who have experienced or perpetrated domestic abuse.

Deana Puccio and Allison Havey, founders of Teenage Rape Awareness (TRAAP) explored the sexualisation of young women.

Finally, there was a discussion about access to family justice and the impact of the changes to legislation and Legal Aid.

Kim Swinden, director of Hometruths, said 80 people had attended, some from outside Swindon.

She said: “We touched on some really important issues and the people who attended said they had learned a lot from it.

“It’s good for us too because we learn and adopt some of the things in our own work but also it’s a good fundraiser for us, with the money going directly to our services.

“I think more people are seeking help but austerity measures have seen a 30 per cent reduction in terms of domestc and sexual violence services so the need for charities like ours is much greater.”