The Vale Domestic Abuse Services offers a wide range of different support services,

Chief executive Vicky Friis told the Barry & District News about some of the challenges facing the organisation and the people it helps.

“We are supporting survivors with increasingly varied needs. Many are struggling against the cost of living crisis which is making it harder for victims to leave abusive relationships. This is compounded by a lack of availability of safe, appropriate and affordable housing in The Vale of Glamorgan. 

"Survivors are also massively impacted by delays in court proceedings. When a survivor has decided to press charges, she can be waiting months and sometimes up to a year for her case to reach the courts.

"This has a devastating impact on survivors and their families - instead of being able to move on with their lives, they live with heightened insecurity and anxiety until their case is heard. 

"We are also seeing a rise in the number of people contacting us for support because they’re experiencing financial or coercive control, or they have been the victim of stalking and harassment.

"Many people assume domestic abuse is about physical violence – it’s actually about power and control and this can look very different.

"From psychological control, withholding finances, choosing what someone wears, showering someone with excessive gifts and attention one minute and withholding love and affection the next to following someone, bombarding them with calls and messages and intimidating them. More people are now identifying that abuse can take many forms and that there is no excuse or justification for any of these behaviors.

"Consistently, we see women who have been isolated and sometimes completely removed from their family or outside support networks by their perpetrator to exert total control and make their victim completely reliant on them.

"Many of the survivors we support feel like they have lost friends and family because of their perpetrator and that they have no one to turn to for help. For these women, there is always someone to help and someone to talk to at Vale Domestic Abuse Services.

"We are also seeing a 30% increase in the number of people contacting us for support year on year, so we know our services are needed now more than ever. "

The chief executive adds: ‘’Thankfully, we are fully funded by the council to provide our life-saving crisis care for women in the Vale of Glamorgan, but violence against women is a national public health issue and it needs to be recognised as such by our governments and the health sector. 

"There is currently no sustainable funding for our recovery work. This includes services like counseling, group work and peer-support networks which are an essential component of our after-care services that enable survivors to move forward with their lives. 

"Without proper funding for services like these, survivors and those experiencing abuse remain in isolation, which is the biggest barrier to overcome when breaking the cycle of abuse. 

"Sustainable, long-term funding that covers crisis intervention right through to wellbeing and recovery is essential. This will enable us to continue to provide life-saving support and also work to implement support networks and prevention strategies to help break the cycle of abuse for good.

"One in three women will have been impacted by male violence at some point in their lives and many of our team members have experienced domestic abuse. We understand what survivors are going through and can empathise with how they are feeling. Importantly, we are here to show survivors that life can be different and that they will get through what they’re experiencing – they offer hope.

"Because of the impact of the abuse these women and children have experienced, they often think that what they’re going through is normal or that it can’t be changed. It can – and showing survivors this, helping them to believe this, is The Vale Domestic Abuse services biggest achievement.’’

Barry And District News: Chief executive, Vicky Friss, advocating for women fleeing abuse. Chief executive, Vicky Friss, advocating for women fleeing abuse.  (Image: Vale DAS)

The Vale Domestic Abuse Services include an advice helpline and advocacy and support to survivors as they navigate criminal or court proceedings, to counseling sessions, therapeutic group work and one-to-one support for children and young people impacted by domestic abuse. It also offers temporary accommodation and refuge for those in need of a safe place to live. 

The service is the only lived experience-informed specialist service based in the Vale of Glamorgan, which means survivors inform every aspect of the support that we offer.

Because of this, no one day is the same as the next. Every person the charity supports is different and they all have varied experiences and reasons for needing this support.

As well as supporting survivors, Vale Domestic Abuse Services also carry out outreach work in schools, with partner organisations and the local community, talking about the impacts of domestic abuse and working to break the stigma of speaking out or reaching out for help.

If you are, or know somebody, in need of services such as The Vale Domestic Abuse Services, you are able to contact them via their helpline that is open 9am-5pm Monday - Friday. Their contact number is 01446 744755. For out of hours you can contact the Live Fear Free Helpline on 0800 8010800. Alternatively, you are able to pop into their services on 198 Holton Road, Barry, CF63 4HN. If you are in immediate danger call 999. 

You can also find more information on their website at