Lawyers volunteer for violence hotline

A TEAM of family lawyers is offering support for victims of domestic violence.

The 17 solicitors, from Welsh firm Hugh James Jones & Jenkins, are running the UK's first free legal 24-hour helpline for victims.

The lawyers have been trained by the Samaritans to handle the calls and take it in turns to go on round-the-clock duty.

Set up by Hugh James solicitor Debbie Richards, the line offers victims free advice on how to deal with their problems or just a chance to talk to someone in confidence.

At the launch Richards, legal representative on the Domestic Violence Forum, revealed the results of a telephone poll carried out earlier this month, where over a quarter of callers were male.

One volunteer, associate Anita Andrewartha, says the helpline could expand from Wales to the rest of the UK.

She says types of calls range from people who have suffered violence in the past to those who are in danger from a violent partner.

“Domestic violence is one of the things that people don't know is going on or don't think about,” says Andrewartha.

“If we only get one call a week, we know we have helped someone.”