White Ribbon Day raises domestic violence awareness in Barking and Dagenham

Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell shows his support for White Ribbon Day

Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell shows his support for White Ribbon Day - Credit: Archant

All around the world, millions of people will today stand united against domestic violence, which affects thousands of people in the borough.

Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell shows his support for White Ribbon Day

Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell shows his support for White Ribbon Day - Credit: Archant

Barking and Dagenham has the highest rate of domestic violence in London, with 28 reported incidents per 1,000 people between July 2014 and June this year, and White Ribbon Day kicks off a series of events raising awareness of the issue.

A council-commissioned Independent Domestic and Sexual Violence Advocacy Service will be launched this morning, provided by Victim Support, to include special provision for less-visible victims including those from Black and Minority Ethnic communities, LGBT, male and young victims.

Joy Parsons, 51, a senior domestic and sexual abuse victim advisor, has worked with the charity in Barking and Dagenham since 2006, helping more than 1,000 victims of domestic violence.

“The physical effects wear off in most cases, but the psychological scars can last a lifetime, sometimes they might never go away,” she said.

Joy Parsons and Lauren from Victim Support

Joy Parsons and Lauren from Victim Support - Credit: Archant

“The numbers are higher than they used to be but it’s not a new problem at all, I think more people are just reporting it now because there’s better awareness of services.

“Sometimes it can take up to 35 instances of domestic violence before someone calls for help, but once they’ve built up that confidence, they’re

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much more likely to call back if anything else happens.”

A new Barking and Dagenham Domestic Abuse online directory will also be launched today, providing information and contact details for organisations offering advice and support to those affected.

The borough has particularly high levels of domestic abuse, according to borough commander Sultan Taylor, who believes the diverse make-up of the borough could be to blame.

“Like some other offences, there’s definitely a link with alcohol and drugs but in Barking and Dagenham there are possibly issues of awareness and cultural awareness,” he said.

“It’s quite a diverse borough and the population is changing and behaviour in other countries may differ, but we want to make sure everyone is safe in this borough.”

Cllr Maureen Worby, cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “Domestic violence is a significant issue in Barking and Dagenham with high levels of reporting.

“The vast majority are women but not all.”

For more information or to donate to the borough’s Victim Support visit justgiving.com/silentimpactLBBD

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