Forgotten vic­tims of do­mes­tic abuse

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

THE na­tion has found it­self gripped by the de­pic­tion of do­mes­tic abuse in The Archers, a sto­ry­line that has just reached a dra­matic con­clu­sion.

Here at Dogs Trust we com­mend the script writ­ers for high­light­ing a much ig­nored is­sue.

Dogs Trust has first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence of do­mes­tic abuse, hav­ing run the Free­dom Project for the past 12 years, an ini­tia­tive that sup­ports peo­ple with pets who strug­gle to leave an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship.

Re­search has shown that peo­ple are more likely to stay with a vi­o­lent part­ner if they have a pet, as they fear their part­ner will harm their pet if they were to leave.

The ded­i­cated Free­dom team helps fam­i­lies flee­ing do­mes­tic abuse by plac­ing their dog in tem­po­rary fos­ter care, giv­ing them the free­dom to leave, safe in the knowl­edge that once they are set­tled and safe, they will be re­united with their much loved pet.

The Dogs Trust Free­dom Project has just helped its 1,000th fam­ily, but we rely heav­ily on vol­un­teers to fos­ter th­ese dogs.

If you have found your­self touched by The Archers sto­ry­line and feel com­pelled to help peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, please con­sider reg­is­ter­ing as a Free­dom Project fos­ter carer or mak­ing a do­na­tion to­day.

If you are a per­son af­fected by do­mes­tic abuse and you are afraid that your pet is also in dan­ger, you can con­tact Dogs Trust for ad­vice and sup­port by email­ing free­dom­pro­ject@dogstrust.org.uk or call­ing 0800 298 9199. The Free­dom Project cur­rently op­er­ates across York­shire and Greater Lon­don.

CLARE KIVLE­HAN Dogs Trust Free­dom Project Man­ager

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