Campaign aims to make it easier for domestic violence victims to get help


Domestic Violence is being tackled with the launch of 16 days of activism against gender violence headed by Safer Merton


By Ellie Gibbs & Charlie Byrne


Domestic Violence is being tackled with the launch of 16 days of activism against gender violence headed by Safer Merton.

November 25th marked the first day of the campaign, known as White Ribbon Day, and saw the introduction of services aimed to offer comprehensive support to victims.

The campaign comes amid figures showing the rate of domestic violence in Merton has risen by 4.1% in the last 12 months.

The figures, released by the Metropolitan Police Service, show a decrease in domestic crime in the surrounding boroughs of Kingston-upon-Thames, Lambeth and Sutton.

But councillor Maxi Martin, Chair of the Domestic Violence Forum, says these numbers are a positive sign.

She said: “These figures show confidence in being able to report, and in those reports being followed through and more support being available to the victims.”

Councillor Martin also believes domestic violence figures are woefully inaccurate across the country because many victims do not come forward.

Academic reports show only one in four cases of domestic abuse is reported, with victims suffering up to 35 assaults before they present to an agency.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of a new service available to victims and potential victims of domestic violence.

One Stop Plus encourages people to come to workshops once a fortnight and meet various organisations to seek advice about domestic crime.

It aims to provide an alternative to having to go to five or six different organisations to understand the options available.

Detective Inspector Jim Wingrave, officer in charge of Merton’s Community Safety Unit, has high hopes for the project.

“If you don’t know what to do and you are ready to break free, there is a load of support out there,” he said.

“We want women to look at women’s aid websites and see that domestic violence is more than just being hit. It can be psychological or financial abuse.”

DI Wingrave says the rising figures in Merton cannot be compared with figures in other areas as each borough has a different socio-economic make-up.

Kingston-upon-Thames has had its One Stop Plus project running for six years, whereas Merton’s was only set up in August.

The project will be reviewed in February and all agencies involved will discuss the success and the aims of the project.

Acting Chief Inspector of Merton police, Helen Harper, said: “Victims of domestic abuse can feel confident that their allegations will be taken seriously and offenders should realise that the police will intervene when allegations are made.”

However, the threat of police intervention can often be the reason victims do not report their situation.

“The desire not to present to statutory agencies is very persuasive,” said DI Wingrave.

“Is it the lesser of two evils if they remain in an abusive relationship rather than report it to the police?

“I don’t think people really understand the difficult position victims are put in when it comes to reporting.”

The One Stop Plus runs every fortnight at the New Horizon Centre, South Lodge Avenue, Mitcham, with the next one on December 8th.

Contact local libraries and GP surgeries for more information or visit:

Related Articles