Hundreds sign up to stamp out violence

Mayor Alan Robberts, fellow councillors and other supporters of White Ribbon Day outside the Town Hall
Mayor Alan Robberts, fellow councillors and other supporters of White Ribbon Day outside the Town Hall

HUNDREDS of people have signed a pledge this year promising to stamp out domestic violence in their community.

Residents flocked to the Town Hall last Friday (November 23) to make their White Ribbon pledge.

White Ribbon Day is held across the world each year in November to raise awareness about domestic violence; it is also recognised by the UN.

In Hastings at 1pm, outside the Town Hall, Jeremy Birch, leader of the council, Mayor Alan Roberts and other dignitaries all signed their pledge to ‘never commit condone or remain silent about domestic violence’.

A total of 1,433 pledges have been made in Hastings so far, beating last year’s record of 1,200.

Councillor Kim Forward, lead member for community services, said: “In Hastings we are particularly aware that both men and women, including those in same sex relationships, experience domestic violence therefore our local White Ribbon project is gender neutral. Nationally one in six men and one in four women experience domestic violence. It’s very encouraging to see so many people in Hastings signing the White Ribbon pledge and awareness of the issue growing year on year.”

A wide variety of agencies have taken part in this year’s campaign including Refuge, CRI, Gaby Hardwick, AmicusHorizon, Women’s Voice, Sussex Coast College and Sussex Police. For the first time this year all local secondary schools participated by putting up White Ribbon banners, displays, wearing white ribbons and handing out information.

An ardent supporter of the White Ribbon campaign is Penny Beale, whose 31-year-old daughter, also called Penny, was murdered by her partner Michael Moffat in Hastings following a period of escalating violence. He was jailed for 11 years in 2002 after pleading guilty. Penny’s mother set up the Penny Beale Memorial Fund in 2004 to raise awareness of the extent of domestic violence and offer support to victims.