Campaign brings agencies together to raise awareness of domestic violence

AN ANNUAL campaign to raise awareness of domestic violence returns today (Monday) for the fourth year.

The White Ribbon campaign is organised by a number of agencies including police, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, Refuge, Gaby Hardwicke Solicitors, AmicusHorizon, Homeworks and Sussex Coast College, with William Parker and Helenswood academies also taking part.

Today, white ribbons will be handed out in the town centre, where there will be an information stall in Priory Meadow with experts on hand to offer information and answer questions.

At 1pm, the mayor, council leader Jeremy Birch, and others will sign their pledge to ‘never commit, condone or remain silent about domestic violence’.

Anyone who has a few minutes to spare is encouraged to drop by and sign their pledge.

Councillor Jay Kramer, lead member for environment and safety, said: “We are not just appealing to victims to get in touch with agencies that can help them, we’re also asking everyone to stay vigilant and report incidents of domestic violence to the police if they believe someone is in trouble.

“We need to get the message across that this is an issue for the whole community not just the victim or perpetrator.

“Last year 1,584 people signed the White Ribbon pledge to ‘never commit, condone or remain silent about domestic violence’. The plan is to gather as many signatures as possible.”

Nationally one in six men (aged 16 or over) and one in four women will suffer domestic abuse in their lifetime.

On average there are five reports of domestic violence in Hastings each day, and there were 1,986 domestic violence related crimes reported in Hastings in 2012/13.

In relationships where there is domestic violence, children witness about three-quarters of the abusive incidents.

Also today there will be an art installation of knitted and crocheted white ribbons at the Swan Memorial Garden, in the Old Town where the Penny Beale memorial tree and plaque are situated.

Penny tragically died in Hastings on November 25, 2001 as a result of domestic violence.

The CRI domestic abuse service can be contacted on 01424 716629.