THIS week I was honoured to host in Parliament the launch of the Football United Against Domestic Violence, a new campaign by Women’s Aid, utilising the powerful medium of football.

Women’s Aid will be working with national football bodies, sports media, football clubs, the police, players and fans to send a clear message that domestic violence is always unacceptable. The campaign has already secured the support of the Premier League, BT Sport, The FA, Women’s Aid Ambassadors Charlie Webster (Charlie’s Big Challenge) and Swindon’s Jahmene Douglas (who was so enthusiastically charming) and a large number of cross-party MPs.

I have previously written about the appalling domestic violence figures. Right here in Swindon there were 2,459 cases reported to Wiltshire Police between April 2012 and March in 2013, yet it is estimated only 20 per cent of cases are actually reported. Victims are simply afraid to seek help.

Sadly, in society domestic abuse is all too often “out of sight, out of mind” and while this continues we will never truly tackle the issue.

With this in mind, South Swindon MP Robert Buckland and I visited the Swindon Women’s Refuge to meet with the fantastic Olwen Kelly and her team.

This facility provides a safe-haven and a crucial support network.

The visit was certainly an eye-opener. It’s only when you’ve sat and spoken to some of the victims of domestic abuse that you can truly begin to understand what these individuals are going through. Many of the women carry the physical scars of the abuse they have suffered, but all of them carry mental scars which sadly will be with them for life.

This is why it is so important to raise and challenge this issue. Rightly it has raised up the political agenda and there is a determination from the Home Secretary, the Police and cross-party MPs to take serious action. The Football United campaign can help play a part, by raising the profile victims will know that is an alternative, that there is help available and action will be taken.

With the UK economy growing at the fastest rate of any Western economy, we have seen record numbers of people are in work. All sectors of the economy are showing strong growth, including manufacturing reversing decades of decline with a 4.4 per cent increase over the last 12 months. This has extended to Swindon where unemployment has fallen by 214 in the last month and is 1,567 lower over the last 12 months. Youth unemployment has also fallen by a staggering 440 over the last 12 months.

We are creating more opportunities to work and our long-term economic plan is building a more resilient economy, securing a better and brighter future for, Swindon and Britain.