MORE than 1,300 people signed a pledge never to commit, condone, or remain silent about domestic violence, to mark International White Ribbon Day, surpassing last year’s record of 840 pledges.
Men and women visited the White Ribbon stands outside the town hall and inside Priory Meadow on Friday (November 25), to support the efforts of Hastings Borough Council, AmicusHorizon, Safer Hastings Partnership and other agencies, in raising awareness of domestic violence.
Councillor Jay Kramer, lead member for equalities and community safety, said: “I was hoping we would get 1,000 pledges, but more than 1,300 is fantastic.
“I would like to thank all those who made White Ribbon Day such a success, and everyone who took the time to sign the pledge.
“It is important that people know there is help and support available to them. Together as a community we can, and we have, taken a stand against domestic abuse.”
This was also 10 years to the day that 31-year-old Penny Beale was murdered by her partner Michael Moffat, in Hastings, following a period of escalating violence. Moffat was jailed for 11 years in 2002 after pleading guilty.
Her mother, also Penny Beale, an ardent supporter of the White Ribbon campaign, set up the Penny Beale Memorial Fund in 2004, to raise awareness of the extent of domestic violence, and offer support and advice to victims.
She said: “We have come a tremendous way in the last 10 years. So many more services are available to victims of domestic violence than there were.”
She has been campaigning for support for victims since 1970 when she was a borough councillor, and has herself been a victim.
Ms Beale added: “It is a very strange crime, in that it’s almost like grooming, where the perpetrator will lull the victim into a false sense of security, it is all to do with power and control.
“It is important that we say it is not acceptable. Because the onus is often put on the victim, I still feel as though I’m clearing Penny’s name.”
If you are a victim of domestic abuse and would like help or advice call Hastings police domestic violence unit on 01424 456143, alternatively visit www.hastings.gov.uk/environment_planning/safer_hastings/domestic_violence/.
In an emergency always call 999.