THE issue of domestic abuse is finally being brought into the open after years of victims feeling they had no choice but to suffer in silence.
And this may have been made easier by professional groups coming together at specially-organised events such as a conference held in Wrexham on Monday.
A powerful and dynamic event dealing with issues surrounding domestic abuse was held on St David's Day at the Stiwt Theatre in Rhos.
Organised by Wrexham's Action Through Partnership, an umbrella group formed from a range of agencies working in Wrexham to address the problem of domestic abuse, and funded by the North Wales Domestic Abuse Forum, the 'Make It Safe - Secure A Difference' conference brought together professionals to share their knowledge and experience of work accomplished across different parts of the UK to benefit all those dealing with victims of domestic abuse.
Conference chairwoman, Susan Duncombe, of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: 'This was a real opportunity for people to get together and share their professional experiences to enable us to make significant improvements to the way domestic abuse is dealt with.
'The inter-agency approach aims to develop co-ordinated services that will respond to the diverse needs of victims and the perpetrators of domestic violence. This conference moves towards achieving that goal.'
Susan, who is also the Area Domestic Violence Co-ordinator and Rape Co-ordinator added: 'It is for the benefit of those who have had to endure years of suffering at the hands of those they thought they could trust Sara Reid, the Assistant Children's Commissioner for Wales, was a guest speaker at the conference.
Sara had her own poignant story to tell in relation to domestic abuse.
Sara's sister, Mari Reid, was murdered by her estranged husband on St David's Day six years ago.
Mari, who had a three-year-old son, was 29 when she was stabbed to death after she refused a reconciliation.
Sara spoke of the devastating effect her sister's murder had on her family.
Sara said she wanted to use the conference to highlight the importance of changing attitudes towards domestic abuse.
Latest statistics suggest one in four women will be abused sometime in their lives, and for one in 10 it may be happening now.
And that figure may just be the tip of the iceberg, fears Sian James, Director of
She said: 'We are working to eradicate this problem and it will be eradicated only through partnerships and conferences such as this.'
She added: 'We are setting up a helpline in April. The helpline will initially be open for 12 hours a day but we are looking to extend it to 24.
'We expect what we see now is just the tip of the iceberg and we hope a lot more women will have to the courage to get in touch with us over the phone.
'My message to those suffering in silence is please get in contact. Information and advice will be tailored specifically to individual needs.'
Sian said: 'Women's Aid is happy to be working in partnership on such an important issue and I'm sure through this we can really achieve something together.' Welsh Women's Aid.