AN OFFICER who has dedicated his professional life to helping victims of domestic abuse and led programs to stop others going through what his mother went through has been named an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Mike Taggart, domestic violence strategic manager for North Wales Police, was just 15 when his mother Donna Crist was killed by her stepfather in 1997.
The 39-year-old, from Rhyl, joined the police in his 20s and in 2014 specialized to become a tactical domestic violence officer, covering the county of Denbighshire.
In 2018, he transitioned to his current role in 2018, a role his predecessors had filled with policy writing, procedural change and quality assurance.
He tore up the job description and took every opportunity to get his message across to the most vulnerable victims through a wide variety of means, including: securing funding to create a “Would You Make the Cut” roadshow that focused on the hair and beauty industry, using the sanctuary of hair and beauty salons to reach out and provide support to victims of domestic violence; displaying the white tape on all North Wales Police vehicles and 1,700 taxis in North Wales as part of a campaign and since the implementation of new harassment legislation in 2020 , Mike has been instrumental in keeping women safe in specific cases.
Mike, who has husband Garry, said: ‘I think my mum would be thrilled and proud as a punch.
“It’s bittersweet because he’s recognized for something, but if mom had always been around, would I still have done the same job?” Mike added.
“When you get the accolade, you mostly want to share it with that person that you can’t.
“My sister [Becci] is now our head of household in our family and she is absolutely thrilled and that would also resonate with how mum felt.
Speaking about when he found out he had been made an MBE and recognized for his services to victims of domestic violence, Mike said: ‘I found out three weeks ago. I logged into my computer to start work in the morning as we were working from home. I did my usual routine – take a quick wash, brush my teeth, log in, then I was going through the email and there was one in there and it just said “birthday honors from the Queen”.
“I just looked at him and thought…what!
“I opened it and there was an attachment inside that read Mike Taggart MBE. There was the actual cabinet letter.
“My hands were literally shaking.
“I collapsed in my chair and that was it, I was just dumbfounded – absolutely dumbfounded.”
Mike described the recognition as “incredible”.
“When you get some sort of credit for the work you do, it’s really nice, but when it’s something you’re extremely passionate about, it makes it even more amazing,” he said.
“Because it’s so close to me and being able to work and do the work that I do and have great co-workers who help me do it and bosses who have encouraged me to do things.
“It’s just amazing. It’s hard to put into words.”
“The kind of things people have said, it makes me emotional,” Mike said.
“I’ve also had people I’ve supported send messages – that I would ‘change their lives’ ‘I went the extra mile’…it’s that validation that you’re doing a great job.
“I also had messages when I did the hairdressing sessions
“Someone said I completely changed their confidence and outlook in just one virtual conversation and it completely blew me away. How the hell can you have that much of an impact? You don’t realize.
“All the messages over the weekend have completely overwhelmed me.
“It just shows the messages we’re trying to get across, they’re being heard and people are aware of what’s going on.
“I think the most important thing is to show people who don’t even know they’re being abused that they are.
“Doing and raising awareness, that’s what it’s all about. People think “I was never abused, they never hit me”. Well, it’s not just about that, it’s also physiological.
“It’s just been amazing.”