EVERY day in the Richmond constituency at least one person is considered to be in such an abusive relationship they need specialist help and support.

I came across this sobering fact when visiting the offices of the Independent Domestic Abuse Services (IDAS) charity in the constituency.

Staff at the Northallerton office receive between 35 and 40 referrals from the police and other agencies every month. Given that we know there is significant under-reporting of the problem that is very concerning.

But I was hugely reassured about what I learned about the services provided by the charity to women and, increasingly, men.

My visit also included the opportunity to see the family refuge located elsewhere in northern North Yorkshire. For safety reasons, I can’t divulge where it is but it is an impressive facility – modern, comfortable, homely and, most importantly, secure – with highly committed staff.

There are also four outreach workers working in Hambleton and Richmondshire – that’s particularly important in a rural area with a widely dispersed population. By its very nature, domestic abuse tends to take place behind closed doors. We all have to be alert to warning signs and make sure victims get the help they need.

IDAS has an informative website – www.idas.org.uk – and a free and confidential helpline available 24 hours a day – 03000 110 110.

In Westminster, I attended a reception to congratulate Gemma Hogg, assistant racehorse trainer to Middleham’s Micky Hammond, for winning not one but two categories at the Goldolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards.

One of the awards was the headline Employee of the Year title for her sterling work with Mr Hammond since joining his team straight from college aged 17. It was a tremendous achievement for her to also win the Leadership Award.

I’m sure Gemma’s colleagues back at Mr Hammond’s Oakwood Stables will be thrilled for her, along with head girl Becky Smith and work rider Lauren Lucas who also were nominated for awards.

A fourth Middleham-based nominee was Raye Wilkinson, welfare officer for Mark Johnston. It just demonstrates the strength of the racing industry in this part of North Yorkshire. Along with the racecourse at Catterick, it makes an important contribution to the local economy.

As a self-confessed economics nut I really enjoyed welcoming to Westminster a group of A-level economics students from Richmond School and Sixth Form College.

It was my favourite subject at A-level and university so it was great to debate with the students the macro-economic issues of the day, about the way markets work and once again use phrases like perfect competition and monopsony (for the curious or would-be economics nuts, that’s a market where there is one buyer and many sellers).

I found it very rewarding to share my passion for the subject with a bright and engaging group. They asked me all sorts of questions about the current health of economy, the forthcoming Budget and how Government works. I hope the visit helped them with their understanding of the subject and to form a view on what makes good or bad economic policy. They were a pleasure to host and I wish them well with their studies.