A moving remembrance service has taken place in honour of a South Tyneside woman who helped shape the borough’s domestic abuse services to the benefit of victims.
Barbara Dixon has been described as a “formidable character” who championed the services supporting those seeking support in fleeing their abusive partners.
She was chair of South Tyneside Women’s Aid as well as the South Tyneside Domestic Violence Forum - and that was where she made her mark.
The 71-year-old died in September following an illness.
This week, a plaque in her honour to commemorate the work she carried out on behalf of victims was unveiled at a service held beside a tree planted last year in Cornthwaite Park in Whitburn as part of White Ribbon Day - a worldwide campaign calling on people to never condone or stay silent about domestic abuse - as a symbol of hope for those fleeing what is often seen as a hidden crime.
Julie Robinson, project manager of Options - a domestic abuse charity run by Impact Family Services which organised the plaque unveiling, said: “Barbara was a formidable character who campaigned tirelessly for the benefit of domestic abuse victims. A lot of the services helping victims, as far as I’m concerned, either wouldn’t exist or wouldn’t be where they are now if it wasn’t for Barbara.
“Barbara was instrumental in the creation of so many projects relating to domestic abuse and without her passion, her drive and support, there would have been a lot more women still suffering at the hands of their abusive partners.
“It was only fitting that we remember Barbara in this way.”
The service was attended by staff, volunteers and service users of domestic abuse support groups as well as Barbara’s daughter Nicola Nelson.
“It was such an honour to see my mam being rememberd in this way,” she added. “She was very passionate about helping families affected by domestic abuse. She used to talk a bit about her work, but until recently I never realised just how much she did.
“She had a really strong passion for helping women and children who were really struggling, she wanted to make a difference - it’s fantastic. I feel so proud of her. It was such a lovely service, I just wish she could have been here as she would have loved it - especially to see the tree.”
The Creating A Home project was launched two years ago.
It costs £8,000 a year to run and relies on donations of cash and good quality second hand furniture.
The scheme helps to give those who escape their abusive partners the chance to start a new life and create a safe home for them and their children.
With funds raised from the 16-day campaign, the charity will be able to buy essential household furniture including white goods, pay for emergency accommodation and provide funds for essential removal costs.
To donate visit www.mydonate.bt.com/charities/impactfamilyservices or visit www.impactfs.co.uk and use the donate button.
Anyone suffering at domestic abuse at the hands of their partners or family members can seek help:
Options (Impact Family Services): For women who are suffering domestic abuse - 0191 456 7577. Out of hours 07921 395508 or 07545 08671.
Mens Advice Line: For men who are suffering domestic abuse - 0808 801 0327.
Northumbria Police Choice Helpline: For those suffering honour based violence - 0800 5999 365
Broken Rainbow - Support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who are victims of domestic abuse - 0300 999 5428
Young Person Violence Advisor - for those aged 13-17 who are in an abusive relationship - 0191 427 2850.
Apna Ghar - for women from the ethnic minority suffering from domestic abuse - 0191 456 4147.