A SWINDON charity that helps the families of people who lost loved ones to domestic homicide has been awarded thousands of pounds.

The Big Lottery Fund has given £9,830 to the Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse in south Swindon.

The charity helps hundreds of families across the country and was established by Frank Mullane from Swindon in memory of his sister Julia and her son Will who were killed by her ex-partner.

Frank said: “We’re delighted to receive this donation as it validates the belief of the families and AAFDA, that peer support is a key component of a family’s ability to make some sense of the future after the loss of their loved ones to domestic homicide.”

He added: “It is important to help domestic abuse sufferers because often this is a hidden crime, and because the victims may have great difficulty accessing help.

“Some myths about victims prevail in society, that it is the victim’s fault and why didn’t he or she leave.

“But leaving domestic abuse relationships can be very dangerous without the right support and it is never the fault of an individual if someone else chooses to abuse them.”

The funds will help pay for the development of a peer support network for families across the UK who have suffered from domestic abuse, including emotional support.

The project has been running for over 10 years and helps families to cope with domestic abuse.

Frank added: “Our research identified that these families often need extended emotional support from people who understand what they are going through, and this has led us to create the Hear Our Voice - Peer Support Project.”

The project listens to victims stories, informs and guides them through statutory authority interactions and helps families to come together to form peer support networks.

Each year, more than 200 people, men, women and children are killed by partners, ex-partners or other family members and 100 of these victims are women killed by men according to national statistics.

An anonymous domestic abuse victim said: “It helps knowing that there are other people that know how I feel, it can be a very lonely place.

“It does help to know that there are other people you can speak to, and that the support that that has given me is incredible.”