A CHARITY made more than 1,200 victims of domestic abuse in Dorset feel safe in the past two years.

The Wareham-based Safe Partnership aims to protect victims of domestic abuse and secures the homes of domestic violence, burglary victims and victims of crimes that affect home security.

The national charity, which includes nine members of staff, five trustees and three ‘security installers’, has helped thousands of victims nationwide.

Their work involves installing safe rooms, which include strengthened doors and secure windows, changing the locks, providing advice and much more.

Chief executive Malcolm Macleod, pictured, says the aim is to make victims feel safe in their own homes.

The charity installs around 200 ‘safe rooms’ a year, with up to 12 in Dorset last year.

He said: “The number of people coming forward has definitely gone up – it is down to a real increase in confidence.

“People can’t refer themselves to us – if you are a victim of domestic abuse you should contact the police or other agencies.

“Our clients are referred to us and we go from there.

“It is about encouraging people to do something.”

It comes after the Dorset Echo revealed that Dorset Police deal with one call about domestic violence or abuse every hour with officers dealing with more than 36,000 incidents in the past five years. Safe Partnership, which receives most of its money from local authorities and works as part of the multi-agency care package, helps on average 3,500 families every year nationwide.

The charity’s work for victims of domestic violence in Dorset is made possible by grant aid and donations.

With three ‘security installers’ based in various locations across the UK, Mr Macleod said these trained staff members work with victims to secure the home.

Mr Macleod added: “The first task of the security installer is to identify the house as a risk.”

Prior to 1999, the charity existed as a grant making foundation. In 2000 it made the transition to service deliverer.

It has been estimated that more than 70,000 people, including immediate family, friends and colleagues, have been touched by their work.

For more information visit safepartnership.org or search for them on Facebook and Twitter.

  • YOU FIRST – Dorset’s domestic violence and abuse outreach service – saw a drastic increase in referrals last year.
  • A total of 567 victims were put in touch with the service in 2013, compared to 444 the year before.
  • The service has been operating since July 2010 and has received 1450 referrals from people needing support on domestic violence issues.
  • A spokesman said 2013 was the busiest year to date.
  • Following the shocking statistics revealed by the most recent Echo investigation, You First reports that the problem may be even bigger, with many choosing not to report to the police at all. Of the 567 referrals You First received in 2013, 364 of those had children under 16 living in the same house.
  • The spokesman added: “It is hoped that through an increased awareness of domestic abuse and violence more people will feel empowered to speak out, report, and link in with the services that can help.”
  • For more information visit lifeyouwant.org.uk
  • SAFE Partnership works to protect domestic violence victims in their own home.
  • The three security installers visit victims to make them feel safe.
  • They check the windows and doors, advise on cutting back vegetation in the area, consider regular travel routes including the way to school and work, provide personal safety and advice, put ladders or any other equipment away and check the victim’s support network.