Time to look at how we can help those in need

Ian Brady

CLIVE SMITH: Who you are shouldn’t make any difference to sentence

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In the season of goodwill when we are reminded it’s the giving that counts, there are plenty of worthy causes for us to donate our time and money to.

Just looking through today’s News is enough to highlight the thousands who could do with our support this Christmas, from those visiting food banks, to toy donations for children and items to help the homeless.

A charity which may get overlooked at this time of year – but is certainly as important – is the Southern Domestic Abuse Service.

With around 30,000 incidents of domestic abuse being reported in Hampshire a year, it’s a service which is crucial to many, offering refuge and outreach services.

As Claire Chatwin, the charity’s chief executive, says today: ‘Domestic abuse can affect people of any age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth and geography, every day of the year.’

Of course, living in the grip of violence is unbearable at any time of the year.

But over the Christmas period – when many of us will be spending time with our families and loved ones – now is the time to think more than ever of those in a home of fear and violence instead.

Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner, Simon Hayes, has long been vocal about making domestic abuse one of his top priorities.

And today we are joining the call for more support to be given to victims.

You can play your part by donating gifts and selection boxes for the families in refuges and the wider community.

But there is also the duty on all of us to be alert on the issue of domestic violence.

Some of these 30,000 incidents will be taking place down our roads, in our streets.

If you hear what sounds like a fight taking place next-door, don’t just treat it as nuisance neighbours.

Approach the police and let them know. They don’t always have to have the victim’s consent to prosecute, and we all need to play any part we can – this Christmas and beyond.

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