Croydon Council is once again uniting the community to support the White Ribbon campaign in its mission to stop male violence against women.
White Ribbon Day takes place annually on 25 November and Croydon has worked with the White Ribbon charity for the last four years, sharing and championing its work to tackle domestic abuse and sexual violence (DASV).
One in four women will experience domestic abuse during their lifetime. This means that 38,500 women are at risk of domestic abuse within Croydon.
The annual event coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Croydon’s Family Justice Centre and its partners have provided support services and interventions for those at high-risk, and a range of provisions to help survivors (and families) who are at risk and vulnerable.
The Family Justice Centre has had 2,568 visitors in the last year.
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council
“We are proud to support the White Ribbon campaign. In the past four years staff have strengthened work with the police, the council’s housing team, schools, colleges and GPs, providing training and awareness-raising to reach as many people as possible, and we will continue that work.
“Domestic abuse advisers have also been placed within the community to identify, respond to and support those experiencing, or affected by, domestic abuse, supporting professionals working directly with families in schools, children’s centres and health centres,” he said.
The council sought people from a range of backgrounds, including faith-based, community and voluntary groups as well as schools and GPs to come forward and form part of this well-informed network.
Network members receive information on the latest events and news regarding changes in the law related to DASV, what is working well to help people in other areas, and access to training.
The training ensures they are equipped to offer their communities advice and support, including signposting to specialist services, enabling more people to receive help sooner.
Cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, Councillor Hamida Ali, said: “Domestic abuse is still so prevalent in our society – and while a lot has changed over time – it is still grossly under-reported.
“We are working to promote the message on a wider scale that domestic abuse cannot be tolerated, by raising awareness about it and building confidence to report, and are going out across the borough working in partnership with communities.
“We’re asking faith groups and community organisations to contact the FJC and to invite the team along to explain what support is available to victims of domestic abuse.”
The FJC team has trained council staff and Croydon College students as ambassadors to raise awareness of domestic abuse, and to signpost those who might be affected to specialist support.
The council and Croydon University Hospital also have HR policies in place to support staff that experience DASV.
Earlier work to support the campaign’s aims is already having an impact across the borough.
Family Justice Centre staff worked hard to build stronger relationships with the police and the council’s housing department so that victims receive quicker, more holistic care and support.
This includes placing an independent domestic violence advocate (IDVA) at Windmill Road police station and Croydon University Hospital for the past year.
The Palace for Life Foundation is also backing the campaign by challenging young men to change their attitudes through its ongoing sport and educational programmes.
If you need help or know someone who does, contact the Family Justice Centre on 020 8688 0100 or call the 24-hour national domestic violence line free on 0808 2000 247.
If you need information and support to help you stop being violent and abusive to your partner, call the Respect phone line on 0808 802 4040.