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Date : 1 September, 2014

West Mercia Women’s Aid has been voted Charity of the Year at one of Worcestershire’s leading law firms.

QualitySolicitors Parkinson Wright – which has offices in Worcester, Evesham and Droitwich – announced the decision as part of its commitment to victims of domestic abuse.

In November 2013, the firm launched a specialist domestic abuse unit which includes a drop in centre headed up by Suzanne Oldnall.

Suzanne explained: “The reasons behind our decision to appoint West Mercia Woman’s Aid is closely linked to our commitment to helping victims of domestic abuse.  We work closely with agencies like West Mercia Women’s Aid, which offers a vital support network to victims and survivors.”

Suzanne has more than 25 years’ experience in family law and specialises in domestic abuse cases, emergency injunctions and non-molestation orders and applications under the Protection under Harassment Act 1997.  Her team acts in cases of domestic abuse and provides a support which goes beyond assisting once a case has been brought.  In April 2014 alone the domestic abuse unit dealt with 15 injunctions.  It is supported by West Mercia Women’s Aid, The Worcestershire Forum Against Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence and the Stonham Group, all of whom regularly attend the firm’s drop in centre with victims of domestic abuse.

Jan Frances, Chief Executive of West Mercia Women’s Aid said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been nominated to be QualitySolicitors Parkinson Wright’s Charity of the Year.  We have worked closely with them over the last few years and in particular around the launch of its domestic abuse unit.  We look forward to continuing our good work together for the benefit of people affected by domestic abuse.”

Figures regarding domestic abuse in the UK make for sobering reading:

  • 45 per cent of women have experienced some form of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking;
  • Around 21 per cent of girls experience some form of child sex abuse;
  • At least 80,000 women suffer rape every year;
  • In a survey for Amnesty International, over 1 in 4 respondents thought a woman was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was wearing revealing clothing and more than 1 in 5 held the same view if a woman had had many sexual partners;
  • On average, two women a week in England and Wales are killed by a violent partner or ex-partner.  This constitutes nearly 40 per cent of all female homicide victims;
  • 70 per cent of incidents of domestic abuse result in injury – compared with 50 per cent of incidents of acquaintance violence, 48 per cent of stranger violence and 29 per cent of mugging;
  • Around 85 per cent of forced marriage victims are women;
  • Domestic abuse is estimated to cost victims, services and the state a total of around £23 billion a year.

For further information please contact Jan Frances on 01432 356 146.