Swindon AdvertiserNew focus on abuse deaths (From Swindon Advertiser)

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New focus on abuse deaths

Swindon Advertiser: Helen Grant and  Frank Mullane Helen Grant and Frank Mullane

EVER since his sister and nephew were murdered 10 years ago, Frank Mullane has campaigned for a better understanding of the needs of families after domestic homicide.

Frank’s sister Julia Pemberton and her son Will were murdered by her estranged husband in 2003.

On Friday, Frank took his campaign further when he spoke to justice minister Helen Grant MP at the Civic Offices, as part of a conference held by his charity, Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse (AAFDA).

Frank, 51, said: “What we’re trying to do is raise awareness of domestic abuse and domestic homicide and encourage a collaboration between everyone who can play a role.

“After this happened to my family we embarked on a journey of trying to access the facts. It was a long journey with all sorts of processes. During that time other families were contacting me and asking me about the process.

“It became apparent to me that ordinary families were facing huge difficulties just trying to find out simple things like what happened.”

Frank told the conference that the Government’s aim to help victims cope and recover after homicide meant that it needed to recognise all the services required and to fund appropriate providers because no one service was meeting all the needs.

AAFDA, which receives funding from the Ministry of Justice, provides listening, peer support, information, guidance, advice and advocacy to families after fatal domestic abuse.

“It is highly probable this charity will need to grow,” added Frank. “The demand is increasing all the time. This is about helping families access democracy and helping families find facts after tragedy.

Figures released by Swindon Community Safety Partnership in 2012 revealed there were 2,268 reported incidents of domestic violence and abuse in Swindon between April 2011 and March last year.

Some 30 per cent of violent crimes recorded in Swindon are attributable to domestic violence, above the national average of 25 per cent.

Justice minister Helen Grant said: “I am here today to engage with Frank and his team to help raise awareness of the surge of domestic violence and the effect of homicide on families.

“I am here also to thank Frank and his brilliant team for all their important work.

“Domestic abuse has damaged our society, and victims within it, for too long. It must stop. No person should die at the hands of an abuser in their own home. Only by eradicating domestic abuse can we ensure that more men and women do not tragically lose their lives.

“That’s why for the first time government has put in place nearly £40m for organisations that do so much to help victims, often with so little. Clare’s Law has also been introduced and is being piloted in parts of the country.”

For more information about AAFDA visit www.aafda.org.uk.

Anyone in Swindon who needs support as a result of domestic abuse can visit www.swindonwomensaid.org. In an emergency call 999.

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