Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline is the ‘funnel’ for anyone looking for a wide variety of domestic abuse services in the county. The majority of calls are from women, but male victims and also perpetrators call. Around 25% of callers are professionals. Domestic abuse does not discriminate, callers are from across the community whether rich or poor, of any ethnicity, religion, age or gender.
HDAH was set up by a police officer who recognised that not everyone wants to immediately engage with the statutory services. The Helpline will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2022. Taking 2,300 calls and also many confidential emails each year, with a further 2,000 individual visits to its website, it has helped over 38,000 people since its inception.
The economic and social cost of domestic abuse is estimated to be £66 billion per annum in England and Wales. There is also the human cost, the cost to our society and our children. One in four women and one in six men will be in an abusive relationship in their lifetime.
People contacting HDAH are taking the first steps to remove themselves, or their friend/relative, from an abusive relationship. During a call, it may be the first time that they recognise that they are in an abusive relationship, particularly in instances of coercive control. Volunteer call takers listen and then offer options, always ensuring that the caller remains empowered. Empowerment of the victim/survivor, will often lead to the start of a road to positive life changes.
It is important that any victim of domestic abuse can call the Helpline without having to worry about the cost of that call or that it will appear on their telephone bill. In order to keep the service free and confidential, HDAH covers the cost of all calls and that means securing the funding to do so.
Thank you for supporting HDAH so that it can continue in its vital work.