‘Many arrive with nothing after they flee their homes’

Portsmouth Domestic Abuse Service often helps women in desperation
Portsmouth Domestic Abuse Service often helps women in desperation
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JUST eight days remain to donate to The News Comfort and Joy Christmas campaign.

Since November 20, we have joined churches and good causes across the city to raise cash for those in need this festive season. Already, your kind generosity has amounted to more than £5,000 in donations – but there is still ample time to make a difference.

One of the 11 organisations set to receive a portion of this sum is Portsmouth Domestic Abuse Service.

Formerly known as Women’s Aid, the service runs three confidential refuges across the city for mothers and children who want to escape domestic abuse.

Jo Baxter – whose surname has been changed to protect her identity – has worked for PDAS for 20 years.

Describing the nature of the organisation’s work, the 54-year-old said: ‘Many people arrive at the service with nothing after having to flee their homes.

‘Our aim is to provide the support for those people to have a fresh start in life and to have the opportunity to lead lives free from abuse.’

As well as its three refuges – which are open to women aged 16 and over – PDAS offers an outreach service to all adults living in the city who are experiencing abuse. Through this, they are given the necessary support to help them make informed decisions about the options surrounding their future.

These clients – Ms Baxter says – have hugely benefitted from Comfort and Joy campaign donations in previous years.

She said: ‘This is a much-needed resource for our service and it is really appreciated.

‘We use the funds to purchase essential items for our clients, including fresh food and small starter packs of a kettle and toaster for when they successfully secure permanent accommodation.

‘They often move into these properties with very few, and more often than not, no belongings.’

Encouraging those who are considering making a donation this year, she added: ‘The clients that need our assistance are vulnerable and each £5 donated can make a real difference.’

PDAS accepts referrals both independently and through other agencies.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you can contact them by calling (023) 9229 1034. Or, to read more about the good causes which will benefit from our campaign, visit portsmouth.co.uk and search Comfort and Joy.