ILEX Awards 2007 Pro Bono Win

National Award for South Gloucestershire Legal Executive’s work with victims of domestic violence

21 January 2008 pr006.08

The ILEX 2007 Pro Bono Award has been awarded to two Legal Executives from South Gloucestershire in recognition of their work in helping the lives of women and children who are survivors of domestic violence.

Alison Scammell (42) and Kelly Gitsom (31) received their award and a cheque for £500 from Keith Edgar, Managing Director of the Award, Peverel Management Services at the ILEX 2007 Awards Ceremony held in the Corn Exchange, Bedford on Monday, 21 January.

The ILEX President, Lesley Graham said, “This award goes to two people who have shown outstanding long-term commitment to helping improve the lives of women and children who have found themselves in difficult circumstances. Their advice, help and support at a critical time in these people lives cannot be overestimated. They are worthy winners of this year Award.”

Alison, a Legal Executive with Brain Sinnott & Co in Kingswood and Kelly, a Legal Executive with Foster & Partners, also in Kingswood, are Trustees of the local charity ‘Survive’ that offers help and support to survivors of domestic violence in South Gloucestershire and Bristol. This includes accommodation in refuges, outreach and resettlement support, a dedicated team for children and young people and support and education groups.

Combined, these services provide safe housing, practical and emotional support, advocacy, information and onward referral through group and individual settings.

As well as acting as Trustees for the charity, Alison and Kelly provide legal advice and help to women who want to escape from domestic violence. They are also members of the local Domestic Violence Forum, which brings together a number of organisations in the area, including the police and social services to exchange ideas and to ensure a common approach to problem solving and planning in this sensitive area.

“We are delighted to have won the award, and the £500, which will go to the charity” said Kelly and Alison. “But we are just a small part of a dedicated team who are there to help anyone, men as well as women, who find themselves in a violent situation at home. If winning this award helps highlight the plight of the hundreds of women who every day have to suffer at the hands of violent or abusive partners and demonstrates to them that they don’t have to put up with the situation and help is available, it will have been worthwhile. Thankfully, more people are becoming aware of the impact of domestic abuse and the number of adults and children that it affects.”