Barking and Dagenham standing up against abuse in the home

This week Barking and Dagenham will join a nationwide campaign against the most common crime in the borough – domestic abuse.

Events offering support to victims and raising awareness of the problem – which affects thousands of women, children and men in the borough – will take place in Barking from tomorrow as part of Friday’s White Ribbon Day.

The council is running an information stall in Barking Market tomorrow and an open day at the Recovery Services in Axe Street, Barking on Friday.

NHS staff will be handing out ribbons in Barking Town Centre tomorrow (Thursday). Theywill also be available at health centres across the borough.

Victim Support will be in the town centre tomorrow and in the foyer of Barking Learning Centre on Friday offering information on services helping victimse.

Briefings on domestic abuse are also taking place at various groups and an art exhibition looking at the issue can be found at Barking Learning Centre until next Wednesday (see page 1 of What’s On).

The Arc Theatre in Abbey Road, Barking, will be putting on a performance of their latest production, Girl E, at Barking Learning Centre on Friday.

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Girl E looks at abuse against girls in gangs – a problem which has become increasingly prevalent in recent years.

The White Ribbon signifies a symbol of hope for a world where women and girls can live free from the fear of violence, and wearing a white ribbon says “I will not commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women”.

Domestic violence is the biggest crime in the borough and the most expensive. In Barking and Dagenham 4,371 incidents were reported to police between April 2010 and March 2011 compared to 3,733 the previous year.

The majority of victims who suffer domestic violence are female. However it can affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as well as men.

Victims are more likely to turn to their friends for support than contact professional services, and neighbours are likely to hear and know if something is not right next door but, more often than not, they choose not to do anything as they don’t know what to do.

Cllr Jean Alexander, executive member for crime, justice and communities, said: “Domestic violence in the borough is a serious issue and the statistics are worrying.

“We will not tolerate any kind of violence, whether it’s physical, sexual, emotional, financial or socially-isolating, and want people to recognise that there is help available.

“I urge anyone who is either suffering from domestic violence themselves, or who knows a victim, to come forward to one of the many services available and seek help. No-one should have to live in fear.”