Council standing up to domestic violence

The number of cases of domestic abuse increased in Wealden last year
The number of cases of domestic abuse increased in Wealden last year

Front line staff at Wealden District Council are to receive awareness training in domestic abuse as part of the council’s drive to become a White Ribbon accredited authority.

The White Ribbon Campaign aims to reduce incidents of violence by men against women, which accounts for the majority of cases of domestic abuse.

Incidents of domestic abuse in Wealden rose from 690 to 742 last year.

The number of actual recorded domestic abuse crimes rose from 325 to 532 in 2014/15.

“One in four women in England and Wales will experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime,” said Cllr Claire Dowling, Cabinet member for Public Health and Community Safety. “That is a frightening fact. We need to do everything we can to reduce the number of incidents taking place in the District.

“Some of last year’s increase is likely to be the result of an increased openness when it comes to reporting incidents, but it clearly is a significant problem which we must do all we can to address.

“There are still widespread social norms that can lead to violent behaviour against women and girls. Only by openly making a stand and talking about it, can we start to address attitudes which can no longer be tolerated.

“Seeking White Ribbon status will involve raised awareness training among the council’s front line staff, challenging the attitudes and beliefs which allow perpetrators to continue their abusive behaviour and encouraging people in the District to take the White Ribbon pledge: To never to commit, condone or remain silent about men’s violence against women.”

The council’s Housing Options team already works to prevent homelessness as a result of domestic violence and provides advice and housing assistance to clients at risk whether in rented and owner-occupied property. This includes the council’s Sanctuary Scheme, which offers additional security measures in the home.

When the council becomes aware of cases of domestic abuse, it works with other partners including the police and the East Sussex Domestic Abuse Service to help ensure the safety of the victim, children and others identified at risk.

Full council accreditation for White Ribbon status is expected to take three months. Wealden residents are being urged to support the initiative by visiting the White Ribbon Campaign website, and make their own White Ribbon pledge in time for Wednesday, November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The campaign website says, “Most men are not violent towards women, but many of us ignore the problem, or see it as something which doesn’t have anything to do with us. We need to join women and women’s organisations in taking action to end the problem.

“Take a stand against violence now and sign our personal pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about men’s violence against women.”

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