CAMPAIGNS have been launched to help victims of domestic abuse seek help in the workplace and encourage more over 45s to speak out.
Union UNISON and domestic violence charity, My Sisters Place, in Middlesbrough have joined forces to campaign to have support services available during work time.
A survey carried out earlier this year by My Sister’s Place, a ‘one-stop shop’ for women over 16, revealed that almost 50 per cent had jobs.
Becky Rogerson, Chief Officer, My Sisters Place, Middlesbrough, said in many cases people had difficulties in accessing the services they needed, especially, safe temporary accommodation and Legal Aid to secure their property rights and the safety of their children.
“Every woman should have the right to safety and justice," she said. "Employed women do not have those rights due to the restrictions on access to Legal Aid, the discriminatory practice in the application of housing benefit, and restrictions on access to refuge accommodation applied primarily by housing associations, but embedded in the competitive tendering of refuge contracts set by local authorities."
Clare Williams, UNISON Regional Convenor, added: "UNISON is keen to ensure that there is equality of treatment for women in employment to receive emergency support when they need it, in addition to our own welfare support through our charity There For You.”
In Redcar, meanwhile, the project, EVA women’s Aid 45+, has been launched to target older victims of domestic and sexual violence.
The charity, based on the town's High Street, already has two safe-houses for women fleeing abuse and is now hoping to open a third haven for mature victims who are less likely to report violence.
Richinda Taylor, CEO of EVA said: “We are finding that some older women are locked into a cycle of abuse that first started when public attitudes were very different and might not know any different.”
Women aged over 45 make up 22 per cent of the population, but are known to be a group who under-report abuse.
In Redcar & Cleveland, 25 per cent of women are in this category therefore their situation could be exacerbated, fears Ms Taylor.
“This statistic suggests there is an even greater proportion of women in the area who may be routinely experiencing domestic and sexual violence and an even greater need for a service like this one,” she said.
UNISON and My Sisters Place have jointly set up an electronic petition through www.change.org/en-GB to support the end to means testing domestic abuse services.
For more information about EVA call 01642-490677.