Advocacy & Outreach
PC Michael Graham, 49, was last week found guilty of seven counts of rape and one count of sexual assault involving the strangulation of a client of a local resident. He has been sentenced to 16 years imprisonment for the offences which took place over a nine month period between December 2013 and September 2014.
Initially, the victim, in her 30’s, was reluctant to contact police having been told by Graham “I am a police officer; I can do what I want. I’ll tell people you’re mad”. She has been supported by two Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) at The Dash Charity since August 2015, who assisted with preparing her in the lead up to court proceedings. Her bravery and strength of character and were instrumental in securing this merited result. The Dash Charity also worked in conjunction with Thames Valley Police to ensure stringent safety measures were put into place.
The victim recorded two separate sex attacks, which occurred in Uxbridge, using a sleep monitoring application on her iPhone. The Jury found the recording, which contained threats to kill, so distressing that it prompted a time-out in proceedings. Delivering evidence from behind a screen, the victim said she has been left to feel “Absolutely humiliated and disgusted”. She is now working in conjunction with The Dash Charity IDVAs to come to terms with the sentencing and look forward to the future.
Graham, who was suspended from the Metropolitan Police Service upon his arrest last October, will now be fired and recorded on the Sexual Offenders’ Register for life.
Speaking about her journey, the victim said “I am very grateful for the incredible support I received from The Dash Charity and my IDVAs. I was able to call them any time when I felt low, to ask for advice or just to speak to someone for reassurance even after the court case had closed. There are no words to describe how valuable this service was to me, without it I don’t think I would have continued with the court proceedings. I never felt rushed or judged and I always felt completely believed. They empowered me to carry on”.
“We are so pleased with the sentence and feel that justice has truly been served.” said The Dash Charity IDVA who supported Graham’s victim, “While 16 years will never take away from what he did to her, it is a fantastic result that will allow our client to start rebuilding without having to live in fear”.
Sustainability & Development | Advocacy & Outreach
We’ve teamed up with our friends at Chuffed.org to set up a Crowdfunding campaign to support our helpline.
Did you know that a victim is likely to experience 35 incidents of domestic abuse before they reach out for support? If they are unsuccessful in speaking with somebody or have a negative first experience when reaching out for support, they will be unlikely to try again; instead remaining trapped in the vicious cycle of abuse.
We provide confidential advice and support services to women, men and children whose lives have been affected by domestic abuse, and it all begins with our helpline.
Due to the closure of local agencies, a recent capacity crisis has seen our caseload skyrocket and our helpline hours drastically reduced, which means that victims of abuse may not be getting through to somebody when they pick up the phone for help.
With your support, The Dash Charity will be able to sustain the helpline’s full operational hours, and ensure that we are making contact with each and every victim who reaches out to us for support.
Please make a donation today and help us meet the needs of the victims who have very bravely taken the first step in ending the cycle of abuse by calling The Dash Charity. The campaign will be running until the end of August an donations can be made via Chuffed.
Fundraising & Events
Our Board Member, Anthony Wills has signed himself up to complete a gruelling 126 mile bike ride to honour the 126 women who were murdered by men in the UK throughout 2016. Beginning in Iver, Anthony will ride through Amersham, Thame, Bicester, Wheatley and Caversham before arriving in Peascod Street around 6pm. Please join us in welcoming Anthony over the finishing line (details to be confirmed). You can sponsor Anthony on his journey via Virgin Money Giving.
Anthony was always worried about completing this distance but had put some good mileage in and his confidence was growing. That is, until his granddaughter started at nursery. You know how it is – these small beings get on very well with their new chums and decide to share everything – including their germs. Anthony succumbed to a virus which kept him off the bike for a scary 4 weeks. He had his first ride (of only a paltry 10 miles) last Monday and had to lie down in a dark room for a while to recover.
So how do you get to 126 miles starting from nowhere? Well, his plan is to ride 10 miles, then 20, then 30, then 40 etc. There is only one way to get ready and that is to forget the past and relish the future. Of course it would make him feel it is all worth doing, and the pain worth suffering with a few donations but whatever happens he has promised to complete the ride to #EndDV126.
Board member, Anthony Wills, to ride 126 miles in honour of the 126 women murdered by men in 2015.
We’d like to share with you some incredible progress made by one of the young participants in our PICADA Program.
The image on the left was drawn in the first one-on-one session and reads “I don’t want to see atta never”. The child was incredibly traumatized and drew a house to show where the hurting happened. The lines he drew across the house were nails – “to protect me and my mum so Atta can’t come hurt us”.
The second image, drawn four months later, reads “good memories” and shows the difference the program has made to his life.
This is a letter from a young girl to her father which demonstrates the impact of early intervention. The child is 10 years old, and penned this during her 6th session with our Child Services team. She is now able to name her father’s harmful behavior by using the words abuse and abusive – this will allow her to recognize it if it appears in her future relationships and reduces her chances of becoming a victim when she’s older, breaking the cycle of violence.
I am saying goodbye because: you let me down by not being there to support me when I needed you, especially when I had my heart checked you fell asleep which really upset me.
Saying goodbye makes me feel: which is upset, happy because there is peace, confused crying, a mixture of both.
I remember when we: went holiday to Dubai and Hong Kong you took us to the water park you played with us.
You taught me: shoe laces and fear but you also taught me sorrow in family. Abuse is right emotional blackmail.
Something I want you to know is: Why did you drink? Why didn’t you care for me? Why were you abusive? Are you going to change?
I will always remember: How abusive you were. Your drinking and hitting. You have affected my childhood.
PS I never felt loved or respected. I don’t love or respect you.
NCS Partnership & Healthy Relationships Workshops
We are pleased to announce that The Dash Charity is partnering with the National Citizen Service NCS to deliver a series of workshops on healthy relationships. The young people will use this knowledge to develop social action projects to benefit our clients. These projects include:
- A sports day for refuge and outreach families
- Care packages for adult clients in refuge
- Creating promotional materials informing the community about what we do/offer
- Arts & crafts fete for refuge and outreach families
- Designing child-centred murals for display in refuge and Sunbeams
LGBT IDVA & Safeguarding Level 3 Workshop
‘Domestic Abuse can happen to anyone. Did you know 1 in 4 people within LGBT relationships are affected by domestic abuse? The Dash charity now have a specialist LGBT IDVA to support those within the LGBT communities who are experiencing or have experienced abuse within their relationships. We recognise that there are a number of limitations to the LGBT communities reaching out for support and The Dash Charity aim to reduce these and provide an inclusive service for anyone needing help. For more information, please call our helpline on 01753549865. There is no pride in domestic abuse.’
We have recently had a male outreach worker join The Dash Charity team to work with men who are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse. We’re very fortunate to be able to offer this dedicated service, and hope it will result in more male victims feeling comfortable enough to seek out advice.
Our Hospital IDVA recently conducted a Safeguarding Level 3 Workshop for Wexham Park Hospital. The team used three real life case studies to look at best practices and lessons to be learnt.
Resident Movements, Half-Term Activities & Renovations
Refuge Services have welcomed five women and four children into the safehouses since April 2016, and have supported six women and their families in successfully moving on to independent living and alternative accommodation.
On Friday, we said goodbye to out amazing volunteer, Izabella, who has been keeping the children entertained in our Parent and Toddler, and After School groups.
Over the half term, refuge staff put on activities of seed planting and a cinema trip which clients and their children all enjoyed.
One of our safe houses was given a facelift in the form of a shiny new kitchen, courtesy of Housing Solutions.
The Dash Charity are now working in Partnership with Therapy Rooms in Maidenhead to offer our Refuge clients access to tailored counselling sessions. Feedback has been extremely positive.
2015 / 2016 Support
This year, our Freedom and Freedom Plus Programmes have supported 94 women in making sense of and understanding what has happened to them. The Freedom Programme examines the roles played by attitudes and beliefs on the actions of abusive men and the responses of victims and survivors.
108 Sun Salutations – To celebrate National Sisters Day on Sunday 7th August, we’re holding a yogathon in Windsor!
Are you up for a challenge? Get down to Windsor Leisure Centre on Sunday 7th August to participate in our Yogathon fundraising event to mark National Sisters Day! Commencing at 10am we will embark on 108 rounds of Sun Salutation Sequence A, before enjoying a healthy lunch (and a well deserved rest)! Why 108, you ask? The number 108 is significant and symbolic across a multitude of disciplines ranging from mathematics to religions and spiritual practices, martial arts and yoga. In yoga we recite our mantras 108 times to represent the 108 human passions, and the 108 energy lines which run through Anahata – our heart chakra.
We will be taking plenty of breaks as needed, and the class is suitable for all levels! All proceeds will go towards the continued running of The Dash Charity’s vital programmes.
August 8th to 14th is Afternoon Tea Week
Why not get together with your friends, neighbours or colleagues and host a celebration to raise funds and honour the victims of domestic abuse? For more information on how you can help, contact Olivia@thedashcharity.org.uk.
The #EndDV126 Bike Ride is taking place on Saturday 3rd September.
Board member, Anthony Wills, to ride 126 miles in honour of the 126 women murdered by men in 2015.
Save the Date! The Dash Charity’s AGM will be held on Friday 14th October. Details to follow.
Save the Date! We’re celebrating our 40th birthday by holding a White Ribbon Gala on Saturday 12th November. Details to follow.
Sustainability & Development
The Dash Charity is on the lookout for one part-time Communications Intern and two Children’s Services Interns to start as soon as possible! For a full role description, please email Olivia@thedashcharity.org.uk.