Changing attitudes to domestic abuse and sexual violence will be under the spotlight when Croydon Congress meets next week.
The meeting, at Fairfield Halls on Thursday 11 June, will be attended by leaders from the public, business, community, faith and voluntary sectors that have a key role to play in shaping the borough’s future safety.
Key speakers include MP Seema Malhotra, shadow minister for preventing violence against women and girls, and council leader Tony Newman, chair of Croydon’s local strategic partnership
Attendees will also hear a personal account from a survivor of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
The role neighbours, communities, employers, health services, other public services and agencies can play in tackling this problem will be debated.
Delegates (either as individuals or representing a company/organisation) will also be asked to make a specific pledge to change attitudes and behaviours towards domestic abuse and sexual violence in in Croydon.
This could involve a local business putting in place a domestic abuse and sexual violence policy for their workforce, or a faith group looking out for, and being aware of, the signs and symptoms that they’ve heard about at congress.
Councillor Hamida Ali, deputy cabinet member for finance and treasury, said: “Domestic abuse and sexual violence are everybody’s concern, and this meeting will provide an opportunity to explore ways we can all help to make it stop, and to spread the word that we are here to help and that no one should be left to tolerate this abuse alone.
“Congress is an opportunity for partners to raise awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence and seek a response from the wider community. It can happen anywhere and to anyone, remains hugely underreported and the cost to individuals, employers and to society at large is massive.
“It is everyone’s business and we must all play a role in making it stop. Domestic abuse is not a private matter, it is a crime.”
Congress will also feature a screening of the film Leaving, a graphic account of the experience of a woman who is subjected to violence by her partner, and the effect it has on her and her son.
The event will be held in the Arnhem Gallery, Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, Croydon, from 9:30am to 2:15pm.
Further information on the film can be found at: http://www.socialfilmdrama.com/projects/domestic-violence/leaving/