A mum-of-two who was strangled, punched and headbutted by her vicious partner says a £320,000 boost for a domestic abuse charity “will save lives”.
Roxy, 29, not her real name is now getting her life back on track with the help of the Domestic Abuse Safety Unit North Wales (DASU) after escaping the brutal relationship.
The extra money for DASU – which operates across Wrexham, Flintshire, Denbighshire and Conwy – has come from the newly-elected North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Andy Dunbobbin, who is a passionate and long-standing campaigner against domestic abuse.
It’s part of a £1.3 million package of funding secured by Mr Dunbobbin which will be shared among a number of North Wales organisations that support abuse survivors like Roxy.
Other recipients include Stepping Stones North Wales, the Sexual Abuse Recovery Centre (SARC), the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) North Wales and Gorwel.
In DASU’s case, it means they will be able to take on seven more Independent Domestic Abuse Advisors (IDVAs), who work with high risk victims, along with two other support workers.
It’s come at exactly the right time because DASU has had to deal with a significant increase in cases across the four counties during the pandemic, with a 40 per cent rise in the Wrexham area.
Roxy spoke out in the hope of inspiring abuse victims to seek help rather than suffering in silence.
According to Roxy, her partner “latched on” to her after they met through friends and moved in with her – and it didn’t take long for his nasty, violent side to come out.
She recalled: “He punched me in the face, headbutted me, put both his hands around my neck until I couldn’t breathe.
“On one occasion he was kneeling on me, sitting on me at one point, ripping his own clothes off and I thought he was going to assault me.
“When I did actually manage to get him to go away, he came back in the middle of the night, broke in through my kitchen window. He stole from me, attacked me, and threatened to stab me.
“Once I got out, he then slit his wrists in my house. There was blood everywhere.
“It took quite a while for the police to arrest him because he was so volatile, spitting at them, chucking blood at them.
“The more he lost control of me, the more he lost control of his own mind. That’s what I felt. Once he was losing control of my mind, he’d lose control of his.”
“The support I have received from DASU has been incredible and my IDVA, Karen, is absolutely amazing. She supports me with everything, she’s like my mum.
“This extra money from the police and crime commissioner is going to pay for seven more Karens and that’s going to save lives with out a shadow of doubt.
“My message to anybody else out there who is suffering is that they should stay strong and seek help. People do believe and you can reach a better place.”
It was a sentiment endorsed by DASU’s head of services, Naomi Mumba-Dobson, when Mr Dunbobbin visited the organisation’s new office in Wrexham.
She said: “This extra funding from the police and crime commissioner is a massive boost for us because of the 40 per cent increase in cases and we are hugely grateful to Mr Dunbobbin. It’s amazing news for us.
“Usually, an IDVA would have a case load of about 25 clients but at the moment, they’re carrying a case load of between 35 and 40 and these are really high risk of things like homicide. They need intense support.
“Domestic abuse also has a major impact on children and this extra funding is going to fund two specialist staff to work with children and young people who are at high risk themselves.
“All through Covid, we’ve just been firefighting because the numbers have been going up and up but having the seven new IDVAs and the two support staff means we will be able to manage the new referrals coming through.
“We can also look after our staff and their wellbeing as well because working with trauma every day can have an impact on them too.”
PCC Andy Dunbobbin said: “I have been aware of the tremendous work done by DASU since 2013 when I became a White Ribbon Ambassador
“During my visit, I was grateful to have the opportunity to speak to Roxy who’s had a really traumatic time and is now coming out of it.
“She is a really inspiring and courageous young woman and hopefully her story will encourage others to seek help.
“The injection of extra funding will hopefully enable DASU to help many more survivors of domestic abuse and get them to a better place.
“The other aspect is the importance of preventative work by being proactive to try and stop the abuse from happening in the first place.
“That’s why tackling domestic abuse is one of my main priorities and I can’t emphasise enough how strongly and passionately I feel about it.
“The work that DASU is doing is amazing. It’s literally saving lives and you can’t put a price on that.”
Anybody needing support can contact DASU via their website www.dasunorthwales.co.uk/contact or by ringing 01244 830436 (Flintshire), 01745 337104 (Denbighshire),01492 534705 (Colwyn) or 01978 310203 (Wrexham).