Today on White Ribbon Day Nus Ghani MP and other senior figures in public service in the Weaden district signed a pledge to oppose domestic violence in all its forms today.
Front line staff in the Council’s services have received training in how identify domestic abuse and encourage people not to tolerate it. The Council is also planning a number of campaigns to raise awareness about the issue in the wider Wealden communities.
Councillor Claire Dowling, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Community Safety, said:
Domestic violence and sexual violence affects men, women and children, but particularly women and girls. It is a problem which affects everyone.
I am sorry to say that we have seen a steady rise in the number of domestic abuse crimes in Wealden over the past four years. They have risen from 315 in 2012/13 to 580 in 2015/16.
Increased awareness has led to better reporting of these crimes but, as by definition, so much domestic abuse takes place behind closed doors, it is difficult to gauge the full extent of this problem.
We hope by encouraging everyone, including men and boys, to become more aware, we can create a safer, fairer climate in our homes. Domestic abuse is also a critical cause of homelessness, accounting for between 5-8% of all homeless applications in Wealden during the past two years.
Domestic abuse is not just violence. It can involve many kinds of controlling behaviour including physical and sexual intimidation, as well as economic and emotional abuse. In many cases people are unaware they are the abuser. Self-awareness is so important. We hope through the White Ribbon campaign we can raise this as an issue more and more people will be willing to talk about.
A number of senior figures in Wealden District Council, including the Chairman, Councillor Chris Hardy, and the Leader, Councillor Bob Standley, have volunteered to become White Ribbon ambassadors.
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Services Borough Commander Tony McCord and Inspector Tony Wakefield of Wealden’s Neighbourhood Policing Team also made a pledge today on White Ribbon Day.
Wealden District Council has been awarded White Ribbon Status and at the Full Council meeting earlier this week, Councillors were encouraged to sign the pledge to their opposition to domestic violence.
Where domestic abuse is an issue, members of the public should contact Sussex Police on 999, if it is an emergency, otherwise use 101.
A new website, The Portal and a freephone number 0300 323 9985, has been set up to provide advice and support to people suffering domestic violence in East Sussex.
Refuge provides a 24 hours emergency hotline on 0808 2000 247.
The Council also provides a Sanctuary Scheme which provides an alternative to relocation through enhanced security measures to an existing home. Contact the Council on 01323 443380.
You can also make your own pledge against domestic violence at the White Ribbon Campaign’s website www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk.