This week marks the first anniversary of the “One Stop Shop’ domestic abuse advice and information service which is run from Bridgend County Borough Councils’ Civic Office every week day from 8.30am –5.30pm.
During our first year, just short of 500 victims have sought support from this free confidential service, and clients are offered support and advice on a variety of issues including housing, health, legal issues and safety planning.
We named the service after a local woman who was tragically murdered by her estranged husband after suffering years of domestic abuse from him. Her name was Assia Newton and we were honoured to have her family join us at the opening of the “Assia Suite” last year.
Her family are thrilled that the Assia Suite is proving to be such a success and that victims are finding the courage to come to us for help. They will never recover from the horrific murder of Assia, and Nadia, Assia’s sister wants to share her story and encourage others who recognise that they are in a similar situation to seek help.
My sister Assia was the most kind, caring person who would do anything to help others. All she wanted in life was to do her best for her children. In July 2013 she was murdered by her estranged husband after suffering over 20 years of domestic abuse. There were occasions of physical abuse but the controlling, emotional and financial abuse was there everyday. On a regular basis objects would be thrown across the room, cups, phones, he even threw a microwave through the window a few times. She tried having jobs but he would hide her uniform, her keys or just wouldn't be there to have the children. He once threw petrol around the house, another time he lit a fire on the settee, on both occasions my sister and the children were inside the house. He would constantly phone her throughout the day and if she came to visit her family he would phone her and make some excuse why she would have to leave. She tried to leave him on numerous occasions but he just wouldn't let her go and would hound her until she took him back. They had been separated 2 years but he was still going up the house everyday, letting himself into the house all times of the day. It was still as if he hadn't left.
Then came the day I feared would happen, 14th July 2013 was the day my sister was murdered. It’s an understatement to say we are all devastated by what has happened, our lives have been changed forever.
We will never get over something like this but going forward we now raise awareness about domestic abuse to hopefully prevent other families from going through this. We tell our story in a hope that someone may be able to identify something that is happening in their lives and get help to get out of that situation before it's too late. The more we talk about domestic abuse the more we can break down the embarrassment that surrounds it. We were also honoured and proud to have the Suite in Bridgend named after my sister. I beg anyone in this situation or know of anyone please contact the Assia Suite and get help and advice.
Out of hours you can call the Fear free helpline on 0808 80 10 800
In an emergency call 999