Charity fighting the ‘hidden crime’ of abuse welcomes MP’s visit

    THE charity DAVSS welcomed Greg Clark to its head office in Tunbridge Wells last month to hear more about what the voluntary service does for the victims of domestic abuse.

    Mr Clark met with Mark Hutcheon, CEO, who spoke of the vital work of the volunteers, who offer services including the provision of a Helpline, Face-to-Face support for clients at high risk of serious harm, and referring clients to other agencies which can help them.

    If necessary the charity, which provides services throughout West Kent, also provides guidance and support for clients who need to attend court.

    Upon his visit, Mr Clark praised the work of those who spend their time tackling what the charity refers to as ‘a hidden crime’.

    He said: “Many victims of domestic abuse feel they cannot turn to friends and family for support so it is very important that they have somewhere they can get practical help and advice.

    “That’s why the work that DAVSS does in our local area is so valuable. DAVSS is a charity that depends on volunteers and I know from my visit today that they would be delighted to hear from anyone that might be interested in offering some of their time.”

    The voluntary service, which is supported by a large number of West Kent organisations, both public and private, dealt with 711 referrals last year, which involved 1044 children. The charity said the figures represented a year-on-year increase in referrals.

    Its two current challenges are to attract and train further volunteers to support clients, and to raise sufficient funds to continue to maintain this much-needed service.

    Mr Hutcheon said he was ‘extremely pleased’ to host the Tunbridge Wells MP and provide him with a tour of the DAVSS office.

    He added: “We discussed in detail the vital role DAVSS and its volunteers carry out to support victims of Domestic Abuse.

    “It is vital to maintain strong relationships with key stakeholders such as Greg Clark to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society continue to receive effective support. This can only be achieved through continued funding and recruitment of volunteers.”