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Dagenham women light 127 candles outside Romford Police Station for victims of abuse

PUBLISHED: 17:11 05 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:14 05 December 2018

Women gathered for the candlelight vigil against domestic violence outside of Romford police station. Maria Sookias lights candles for the latest victims.

Women gathered for the candlelight vigil against domestic violence outside of Romford police station. Maria Sookias lights candles for the latest victims.

Archant

A Dagenham charity held a candlelit vigil in Romford to pay its respects to women who have been affected by male physical violence or sexual abuse.

Women gathered for the candlelight vigil against domestic violence outside of Romford police station.Women gathered for the candlelight vigil against domestic violence outside of Romford police station.

A group of women from the Huggett Women’s Centre in Heathway, Dagenham lit 127 candles outside Romford Police Station on Tuesday, December 4, in commemoration of the 127 women have been killed by male violence this year in the UK.

Maria Sookias, head of operations at Huggett Women’s Centre, said: “During the vigil, Karen Ingala Smith who is responsible for the Femicide Census, was available to give us an update and told us that two more women had died.

“It’s coming up to a difficult time for a lot of women as there’s an escalation of violence during the holiday period.”

This is the first year the centre has held a vigil and after the ceremony some of the women who took part said it’s something that they hope they won’t have to do again.

Women gathered for the candlelight vigil against domestic violence outside of Romford police station.Women gathered for the candlelight vigil against domestic violence outside of Romford police station.

“It’s not a thing that we want to do, but it’s really important to commemorate women’s lives,” said Maria.

“They should be recognised and honoured.

“We’ve got women coming forward who have been affected by trafficking, everyday harassment - it goes all the way from the cradle to the grave.”

The centre has seen an unprecedented demand for services to support women and girls who have been raped or sexually assaulted.

More than 200 women and girls are on its waiting list for counselling in east London and more than 120 women are waiting for advocates.

Annetha from the Women’s Involvement Group at Huggett, said: “All forms of male violence is unacceptable and this has to be addressed as a problem of epidemic proportions.

“Responses to survivors and the victims’ families are urgently needed to promote awareness and easily accessible safe spaces.”

This year the Huggett Women’s Centre is celebrating its second anniversary with a special event on December 12.

It is funded up until August next year and is currently fundraising so that it can continue its aim of creating a safe haven for all women and girls in London.

To make a donation visit justgiving.com/niaproject.

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