Swindon Women’s Aid shelter is ready for festive influx

This Is Wiltshire: Swindon Women’s Aid director Olwen Kelly says family tensions can spill over into violence at Christmas when alcohol is involved Swindon Women’s Aid director Olwen Kelly says family tensions can spill over into violence at Christmas when alcohol is involved

FOR most, Christmas is a time to look forward to, spent with family and loved ones.

Many gather for several days every year to enjoy each other’s company during the festive period. Gifts are given and a good time is had by all.

But for some the excesses of Christmas can become a nightmare as a mixture of alcohol and the pressure to create the perfect family occasion lead to tensions boiling over.

It is one of the busiest times of year for Swindon Women’s Aid, with many victims of domestic abuse arriving at the shelter in desperate need of help. More often than not, they will arrive with children and nothing else but the clothes they are wearing.

Swindon Women’s Aid director Olwen Kelly said Christmas can all too easily create a combustible environment, perfect for domestic violence to manifest itself.

She said: “Unfortunately, if domestic violence is going to happen, then it will at some point.

“Christmas is a time when many contributing factors come together. There is often a much larger quantity of alcohol being drunk.

“Alcohol is not the cause behind it but can increase the likelihood of an argument and the ease to which violence is resorted too.

“Families very often spend far more time cooped up together than they would at any other time of the year. This doesn’t give people the space they may need to cool down and so there is a far greater level of tension.

“The pressure to have the perfect Christmas can so often increase this tension. We see on television perfect families gathered around celebrating Christmas but it is so rarely, if ever, actually like that.

“Many try to re-create this scenario and it can lead to frustration when everything does not go according to plan.”

The fallout from domestic violence can be devastating, especially for children who are caught in the middle.

Throughout the Christmas period the charity is the place of last resort for many who have nowhere left to turn. “We get some people turning up in the early hours of Christmas morning,” said Olwen.

“They are often traumatised by their experience and in some cases spent several hours giving statements to the police.

“They may very well have absolutely nothing with them.”

This is where Swindon Women’s Aid steps in to give the women who have come to them and their children the best Christmas possible.

Olwen said: “When they first arrive we will give them the basics, such as a change of clothes and toiletries.

“On Christmas Day we try and make it as special a day as possible, especially for the children.

“We give them presents and have a Christmas dinner.

“It is important to try and get some degree of normality after what has been a very traumatic experience.

“This is all funded through donations from groups and members of the public.

“Christmas is not the cause of domestic violence, which occurs all year around. Unfortunately there is an increase in incidents and the donations people give can make such a difference.”

More information at www.swindonwomensaid.org.

Comments (18)

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8:18am Fri 27 Dec 13

Chowmai says...

What saddens me is that whilst we as a society seem to support female victims we tend to be less supportive of male victims who often suffer in silence for fear of ridicule.
Domestic violence is abhorrent and, in any form against any person, should never be tolerated in any civilised society.
What saddens me is that whilst we as a society seem to support female victims we tend to be less supportive of male victims who often suffer in silence for fear of ridicule. Domestic violence is abhorrent and, in any form against any person, should never be tolerated in any civilised society. Chowmai

9:48am Fri 27 Dec 13

Ringer says...

Sadly, domestic violence is on the increase due to ineffective - and often deeply disturbing - inaction by the judiciary we're forced to endure.

It'll carry on becoming even more of a problem as others see convicted violent criminals stroll free from court, laughing at the 'learned' chaps who pontificate over them.

http://www.swindonad
vertiser.co.uk/news/
10898754.Drunken_rev
eller_left_man_with_
broken_jaw_after_Swi
ndon_attack/
Sadly, domestic violence is on the increase due to ineffective - and often deeply disturbing - inaction by the judiciary we're forced to endure. It'll carry on becoming even more of a problem as others see convicted violent criminals stroll free from court, laughing at the 'learned' chaps who pontificate over them. http://www.swindonad vertiser.co.uk/news/ 10898754.Drunken_rev eller_left_man_with_ broken_jaw_after_Swi ndon_attack/ Ringer

2:28pm Fri 27 Dec 13

dukeofM4 says...

@Ringer - As it's been said in the comments before locking your way out of domestic violence won't work. Why don't you go on You Tube and search under Erin Pizzey.

She was the founder of the first shelter in the UK around 1970 before the domestic violence issue was hi-jacked by the feminist movement. Her views are slightly difference than the majority of people involved in this issue in 2013.

Erin Pizzey has a more 'real world' view of reducing this problem rather than just feed the domestic violence industry solely with cash and offer no long term solution.

Happy New Year!
@Ringer - As it's been said in the comments before locking your way out of domestic violence won't work. Why don't you go on You Tube and search under Erin Pizzey. She was the founder of the first shelter in the UK around 1970 before the domestic violence issue was hi-jacked by the feminist movement. Her views are slightly difference than the majority of people involved in this issue in 2013. Erin Pizzey has a more 'real world' view of reducing this problem rather than just feed the domestic violence industry solely with cash and offer no long term solution. Happy New Year! dukeofM4

5:25pm Fri 27 Dec 13

Ringer says...

Ah, yes, your usual, somewhat 'skewed', views about domestic violence and the violent criminals that engage in it.

Those convicted of repeat violent crimes (against ANYONE) should be jailed. 'Rehabilitation' is a myth, as the 600 women who die at the hands of their criminal partners and ex-partners are testament to.
Ah, yes, your usual, somewhat 'skewed', views about domestic violence and the violent criminals that engage in it. Those convicted of repeat violent crimes (against ANYONE) should be jailed. 'Rehabilitation' is a myth, as the 600 women who die at the hands of their criminal partners and ex-partners are testament to. Ringer

2:16am Sat 28 Dec 13

dukeofM4 says...

@Ringer - watch the You Tube videos. Also your 600 women figure is over the top even Women's Aid keeps quoting 2 per week, that's 104.

Your rhetoric does not provide any answers.
@Ringer - watch the You Tube videos. Also your 600 women figure is over the top even Women's Aid keeps quoting 2 per week, that's 104. Your rhetoric does not provide any answers. dukeofM4

2:21am Sat 28 Dec 13

SSmith3 says...

It's sad how they have to leave their homes and everything they have, while their violent partner is still in the house. Plus there's now less legal aid for people to seek help.
It's sad how they have to leave their homes and everything they have, while their violent partner is still in the house. Plus there's now less legal aid for people to seek help. SSmith3

2:24am Sat 28 Dec 13

SSmith3 says...

What's the person ranting on about how domestic violence has been taken over by feminists? Why would a man seem to have spent so much time criticisng victims and the people who help them?
What's the person ranting on about how domestic violence has been taken over by feminists? Why would a man seem to have spent so much time criticisng victims and the people who help them? SSmith3

7:58am Sat 28 Dec 13

Ringer says...

dukeofM4 wrote:
@Ringer - watch the You Tube videos. Also your 600 women figure is over the top even Women's Aid keeps quoting 2 per week, that's 104.

Your rhetoric does not provide any answers.
People in prison cannot batter their wives and partners.

How is that 'not an answer'?
[quote][p][bold]dukeofM4[/bold] wrote: @Ringer - watch the You Tube videos. Also your 600 women figure is over the top even Women's Aid keeps quoting 2 per week, that's 104. Your rhetoric does not provide any answers.[/p][/quote]People in prison cannot batter their wives and partners. How is that 'not an answer'? Ringer

9:23am Sat 28 Dec 13

Ringеr says...

SSmith3 wrote:
It's sad how they have to leave their homes and everything they have, while their violent partner is still in the house. Plus there's now less legal aid for people to seek help.
So you are saying, publicly, that they should be forced to stay with a violent partner and unlimited public money should be thrown at the situation to resolve it?
[quote][p][bold]SSmith3[/bold] wrote: It's sad how they have to leave their homes and everything they have, while their violent partner is still in the house. Plus there's now less legal aid for people to seek help.[/p][/quote]So you are saying, publicly, that they should be forced to stay with a violent partner and unlimited public money should be thrown at the situation to resolve it? Ringеr

2:08pm Sat 28 Dec 13

dukeofM4 says...

@SSmith3 - Read the history on the issue, watch the You Tube videos. When burning bras in the 60s/70s no longer attracted public attention for the movement, the movement's strategy changed, hijack the domestic violence issue, and create a gender based issue which discriminates against men. It's worked and people seem to be blind to this fact.

Erin Pizzey doesn't condone violence, but realises many women play their part in household problems and you'll never solve this issue by marginising men. WATCH THE VIDEOs before making a comment.
@SSmith3 - Read the history on the issue, watch the You Tube videos. When burning bras in the 60s/70s no longer attracted public attention for the movement, the movement's strategy changed, hijack the domestic violence issue, and create a gender based issue which discriminates against men. It's worked and people seem to be blind to this fact. Erin Pizzey doesn't condone violence, but realises many women play their part in household problems and you'll never solve this issue by marginising men. WATCH THE VIDEOs before making a comment. dukeofM4

7:52am Sun 29 Dec 13

Ringer says...

We get it, you like Erin Pizzey.

Dealing with violent criminals appropriately is not 'marginalising men'.

You've clearly got either direct personal experience of being convicted of abuse against women or have been accused of such in the past, because your attitude is quite frightening.

Feminists certainly do not need domestic abuse to highlight their cause. The people who engage in domestic violence are worthless criminals, not some kind of male freedom fighters who have been duped into being smashed by the system as you're seemingly attempting to imply.
We get it, you like Erin Pizzey. Dealing with violent criminals appropriately is not 'marginalising men'. You've clearly got either direct personal experience of being convicted of abuse against women or have been accused of such in the past, because your attitude is quite frightening. Feminists certainly do not need domestic abuse to highlight their cause. The people who engage in domestic violence are worthless criminals, not some kind of male freedom fighters who have been duped into being smashed by the system as you're seemingly attempting to imply. Ringer

3:07pm Sun 29 Dec 13

dukeofM4 says...

@Ringer you're a law and order bloke who believes harsh prison sentences solves everything - it won't. You'll be here in 2014 and beyond taking the same old positions. Do us all a favour in 2014.and take a couple days out and sit in Douglas Field's public gallery to see the process first hand rather than be an armchair critic then come back with an informed opinion. What you do is like seeing only the score of a football match and ignoring the what happened during play. You need to see the big picture.
@Ringer you're a law and order bloke who believes harsh prison sentences solves everything - it won't. You'll be here in 2014 and beyond taking the same old positions. Do us all a favour in 2014.and take a couple days out and sit in Douglas Field's public gallery to see the process first hand rather than be an armchair critic then come back with an informed opinion. What you do is like seeing only the score of a football match and ignoring the what happened during play. You need to see the big picture. dukeofM4

4:41pm Sun 29 Dec 13

Ringer says...

dukeofM4 wrote:
@Ringer you're a law and order bloke who believes harsh prison sentences solves everything - it won't. You'll be here in 2014 and beyond taking the same old positions. Do us all a favour in 2014.and take a couple days out and sit in Douglas Field's public gallery to see the process first hand rather than be an armchair critic then come back with an informed opinion. What you do is like seeing only the score of a football match and ignoring the what happened during play. You need to see the big picture.
I've spent many, many hours in various courtrooms, thanks. Had you done the same, you'd realise it's almost always the same old faces, repeating the same old crimes. That's largely because the Criminal Justice System essentially teaches them that it's actually OK for them to continue doing so.

The 'bigger picture', as you refer to it, never changes: those in prison cannot commit crimes against the public whilst they are there. In every country and era where it's been tried, zero tolerance and the appropriate jailing of violent criminals reduces the crime rate - how could it not?

The problem is that it's never been tried here, the judiciary and police force merely become more and more unduly lenient and pretend it's 'the way forward'. Naturally, they then have to lie about crime figures because, rather obviously, they continue to rise.

Continually letting convicted criminals walk free from court (to do it all over again) most certainly does not work and most certainly never will work.

The main reason so many people engage in Domestic Violence is because they know full well they'll keep getting away with it.

Also, I'm not sure your analogy really works. Do football teams, or their fans, really care what tactics are used to win as long as they do always win? As long as we reduce crime and prevent repeat offenders continuing to reoffend, it's largely irrelevant what we do to achieve that.

What we do know is that your method, of undue leniency and no punishment whatsoever, clearly doesn't work (and is obviously never going to work).

Why stop battering women around when you know that you can do it with absolute impunity and that's the kind of **** you happen to be?
[quote][p][bold]dukeofM4[/bold] wrote: @Ringer you're a law and order bloke who believes harsh prison sentences solves everything - it won't. You'll be here in 2014 and beyond taking the same old positions. Do us all a favour in 2014.and take a couple days out and sit in Douglas Field's public gallery to see the process first hand rather than be an armchair critic then come back with an informed opinion. What you do is like seeing only the score of a football match and ignoring the what happened during play. You need to see the big picture.[/p][/quote]I've spent many, many hours in various courtrooms, thanks. Had you done the same, you'd realise it's almost always the same old faces, repeating the same old crimes. That's largely because the Criminal Justice System essentially teaches them that it's actually OK for them to continue doing so. The 'bigger picture', as you refer to it, never changes: those in prison cannot commit crimes against the public whilst they are there. In every country and era where it's been tried, zero tolerance and the appropriate jailing of violent criminals reduces the crime rate - how could it not? The problem is that it's never been tried here, the judiciary and police force merely become more and more unduly lenient and pretend it's 'the way forward'. Naturally, they then have to lie about crime figures because, rather obviously, they continue to rise. Continually letting convicted criminals walk free from court (to do it all over again) most certainly does not work and most certainly never will work. The main reason so many people engage in Domestic Violence is because they know full well they'll keep getting away with it. Also, I'm not sure your analogy really works. Do football teams, or their fans, really care what tactics are used to win as long as they do always win? As long as we reduce crime and prevent repeat offenders continuing to reoffend, it's largely irrelevant what we do to achieve that. What we do know is that your method, of undue leniency and no punishment whatsoever, clearly doesn't work (and is obviously never going to work). Why stop battering women around when you know that you can do it with absolute impunity and that's the kind of **** you happen to be? Ringer

7:24pm Sun 29 Dec 13

dukeofM4 says...

@Ringer

1. Resorting to personal insults is not a debate.

2. Your harsh sentence regime has been tried in other countries, such as the US (they lock up people 7 times the rate of the UK), and violent crime is much higher vis-à-vis the UK. It's down the culture of the country more than anything else. Why is it in this country we have higher rates of violent crime, drunkenness than many EU countries? Or do you propose to institute a Stasi type regime giving the police powers to arrest and detain people without any court supervision and maintain an open society? Good luck with that. If you doubled all sentencing guidelines overnight do you really thinking we would half the crime rates or just end up footing a big prison bill and still have the same general level of crime?

3. You need an exit strategy for people released from prison unless they've gotten life,and they always eventually get out. All you advocate is locking people up because they can't commit crimes while inside, but never mention what to do when released. That's where the present policy falls apart regardless of the length of the sentence. Or do you propose life sentences for a wider range of crimes? And what would the effect be on communities if everyone was locked up for very long periods for lesser crimes? Or shall we bring back Transportation used by the Victorians? Obviously the Victorians came to the conclusion long prison sentences were not having the desired effect or cost effective and decided to export the problem away, but with the shrunken British Empire 2013 nobody else wants our dregs. Or do you advocate torture and allow the police to give every person they don't like a good kicking at Gablecross and allow some sadistic PC to get his kicks?

4. There's really only so much society can do with repeat offenders. The present system does attempt to cause people hassle through monitoring with repeat offenders often preferring a short stint prison than wearing GPS tags or having cups of tea with a probation officer on a monthly basis. The Government will not foot the bill for locking up masses of people and I think you would eventually run into public opposition with mass incarceration.

So unless you're going to resort to torture, life sentences, public humiliation (which doesn't seem to work anymore because the public has seen it all in today's world), surveillance society, summary punishment by the police, kangaroo courts, or electing some despot with his secret police, tougher jail sentences on their own will not have much of an effect on their own because the way we organise our society.

If you ran a poll asking people should people be sentenced tougher sentences they would almost certainly say yes but if you ask them would they be effective I think you would struggle with the answer.
@Ringer 1. Resorting to personal insults is not a debate. 2. Your harsh sentence regime has been tried in other countries, such as the US (they lock up people 7 times the rate of the UK), and violent crime is much higher vis-à-vis the UK. It's down the culture of the country more than anything else. Why is it in this country we have higher rates of violent crime, drunkenness than many EU countries? Or do you propose to institute a Stasi type regime giving the police powers to arrest and detain people without any court supervision and maintain an open society? Good luck with that. If you doubled all sentencing guidelines overnight do you really thinking we would half the crime rates or just end up footing a big prison bill and still have the same general level of crime? 3. You need an exit strategy for people released from prison unless they've gotten life,and they always eventually get out. All you advocate is locking people up because they can't commit crimes while inside, but never mention what to do when released. That's where the present policy falls apart regardless of the length of the sentence. Or do you propose life sentences for a wider range of crimes? And what would the effect be on communities if everyone was locked up for very long periods for lesser crimes? Or shall we bring back Transportation used by the Victorians? Obviously the Victorians came to the conclusion long prison sentences were not having the desired effect or cost effective and decided to export the problem away, but with the shrunken British Empire 2013 nobody else wants our dregs. Or do you advocate torture and allow the police to give every person they don't like a good kicking at Gablecross and allow some sadistic PC to get his kicks? 4. There's really only so much society can do with repeat offenders. The present system does attempt to cause people hassle through monitoring with repeat offenders often preferring a short stint prison than wearing GPS tags or having cups of tea with a probation officer on a monthly basis. The Government will not foot the bill for locking up masses of people and I think you would eventually run into public opposition with mass incarceration. So unless you're going to resort to torture, life sentences, public humiliation (which doesn't seem to work anymore because the public has seen it all in today's world), surveillance society, summary punishment by the police, kangaroo courts, or electing some despot with his secret police, tougher jail sentences on their own will not have much of an effect on their own because the way we organise our society. If you ran a poll asking people should people be sentenced tougher sentences they would almost certainly say yes but if you ask them would they be effective I think you would struggle with the answer. dukeofM4

9:26am Mon 30 Dec 13

Ringer says...


1. Resorting to personal insults is not a debate.


Where did I personal insult you?

You are incorrect about the US. Violent and anti-social crime is much lower than the UK (per capita). The murder rate is higher, but very few people are murdered compared to the vast number who experience all other types of crime, so it is the latter which is more important to deal with.

Even the police publically admit that if we jailed an additional 100,000 of the most prolific offenders (for longer periods of time) the crime rate would drop dramatically - likely by far more than 50%.

The rest of your 'points' appear to simply mean we must shrug and accept crime and repeat offenders repeating their crimes. That may be reasonable to you, not to me.

I also have absolutely no idea why you might think the public would oppose the jailing of criminals, regardless of how many need to be jailed. If a person breaks a law and the sentence for such attracts a custodial sentence, then those criminals should go to prison. A major reason we see so much crime, and repeat crime, is because convicted criminals who should have gone to prison have been allowed to walk from court without being sent to prison. The judiciary STILL haven't learnt their lesson, despite being given numerous lessons on a daily basis.

Your approach, which is shared by our lamentable judiciary, very clearly and demonstrably does not work. This country is not America and this country has never tried anything remotely approaching an appropriate response to criminals and crime... hence the crime rate continues to rise and why the police find that all they have left that they can do is to lie about it.
[quote] 1. Resorting to personal insults is not a debate. [/quote] Where did I personal insult you? You are incorrect about the US. Violent and anti-social crime is much lower than the UK (per capita). The murder rate is higher, but very few people are murdered compared to the vast number who experience all other types of crime, so it is the latter which is more important to deal with. Even the police publically admit that if we jailed an additional 100,000 of the most prolific offenders (for longer periods of time) the crime rate would drop dramatically - likely by far more than 50%. The rest of your 'points' appear to simply mean we must shrug and accept crime and repeat offenders repeating their crimes. That may be reasonable to you, not to me. I also have absolutely no idea why you might think the public would oppose the jailing of criminals, regardless of how many need to be jailed. If a person breaks a law and the sentence for such attracts a custodial sentence, then those criminals should go to prison. A major reason we see so much crime, and repeat crime, is because convicted criminals who should have gone to prison have been allowed to walk from court without being sent to prison. The judiciary STILL haven't learnt their lesson, despite being given numerous lessons on a daily basis. Your approach, which is shared by our lamentable judiciary, very clearly and demonstrably does not work. This country is not America and this country has never tried anything remotely approaching an appropriate response to criminals and crime... hence the crime rate continues to rise and why the police find that all they have left that they can do is to lie about it. Ringer

11:24am Mon 30 Dec 13

trolley dolley says...

It always fills me with sadness to hear about domestic violence and especially the effect it has on any children involved.

Life is hard enough for most people but there will always be people who cannot cope with stress or who are driven to the point where they lose control.

It is easy to judge someone for their actions but it is better not to judge but to offer help.

All the posters can help by supporting Swindon Womens Aid throughout the year and remembering that both parties in a dispute need help.
It always fills me with sadness to hear about domestic violence and especially the effect it has on any children involved. Life is hard enough for most people but there will always be people who cannot cope with stress or who are driven to the point where they lose control. It is easy to judge someone for their actions but it is better not to judge but to offer help. All the posters can help by supporting Swindon Womens Aid throughout the year and remembering that both parties in a dispute need help. trolley dolley

1:34pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Ringer says...

@trolley dolley: how, exactly, do you 'help' a man who mentally and physically batters and abuses every woman who falls for their initial charm?

They don't do it because they need 'help', they do it because nobody ever stops them - and even if they do get stopped at some point the courts just let them off again and again.
@trolley dolley: how, exactly, do you 'help' a man who mentally and physically batters and abuses every woman who falls for their initial charm? They don't do it because they need 'help', they do it because nobody ever stops them - and even if they do get stopped at some point the courts just let them off again and again. Ringer

4:44pm Mon 30 Dec 13

dukeofM4 says...

@Trolley Dooley - You're correct. Giving one partner a free pass over the other because some threshold has been crossed won't solve the problems between them. All the legal system can do is act as referee keeping the disputing parties apart as best as it can.

The current system relies upon the two parties keeping the peace.

The Internet is going to make this job much more difficult. For example, no contact orders are regularly bypassed by social media. If the so-called 'victim' is bombarded by Tweets by the partner's friends and family what good is a 'no contact' order. It's a farce. The CPS struggles with this issue everyday.

Obtaining contraband is another evolving problem with the advent of 3D printers capable of using metal. How is that going to be stopped? Again it's difficult.

The Police struggle to stop drugs. The Silk Road website is closed down by the Americans only to find another springing up days afterwards. Where there's profit someone will provide the service.

If the approach doesn't change the main responsibility of the Police will a recording function for any further court proceedings.

Prevention is the most effective way to prevent future problems between two parties.

@Ringer please before we go down the law and order path all I'm saying managing this issue has to be proportional. We can't treat every bloke like the 10,000 to 1 chance he's going to commit one of the 2 per week Woman's Aid is so keen to keep reminding us about. The Legal Aid system doesn't have to resources and the Gov't doesn't have the prison cells. It's an expensive business for the Gov't to continually act as 'relationship' manager for people who can't manage it themselves in the vast majority of cases.
@Trolley Dooley - You're correct. Giving one partner a free pass over the other because some threshold has been crossed won't solve the problems between them. All the legal system can do is act as referee keeping the disputing parties apart as best as it can. The current system relies upon the two parties keeping the peace. The Internet is going to make this job much more difficult. For example, no contact orders are regularly bypassed by social media. If the so-called 'victim' is bombarded by Tweets by the partner's friends and family what good is a 'no contact' order. It's a farce. The CPS struggles with this issue everyday. Obtaining contraband is another evolving problem with the advent of 3D printers capable of using metal. How is that going to be stopped? Again it's difficult. The Police struggle to stop drugs. The Silk Road website is closed down by the Americans only to find another springing up days afterwards. Where there's profit someone will provide the service. If the approach doesn't change the main responsibility of the Police will a recording function for any further court proceedings. Prevention is the most effective way to prevent future problems between two parties. @Ringer please before we go down the law and order path all I'm saying managing this issue has to be proportional. We can't treat every bloke like the 10,000 to 1 chance he's going to commit one of the 2 per week Woman's Aid is so keen to keep reminding us about. The Legal Aid system doesn't have to resources and the Gov't doesn't have the prison cells. It's an expensive business for the Gov't to continually act as 'relationship' manager for people who can't manage it themselves in the vast majority of cases. dukeofM4

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