Merton Council calls for domestic violence support, asking ‘are you a real man?’

With the 16 days of activism against gender violence rolling out next week, starting on 25 November with White Ribbon Day, Merton Council is asking residents to make a stand against domestic violence.

This year’s theme ties in with women’s aid’s ‘Real Man’ campaign, which asks men to stand up and say that real men do not abuse and control women – physically, emotionally, sexually or financially.

Supported by celebrities such as Ricky Whittle, Will Young and Duncan Banatyne, the ‘Real Man’ campaign has pledges made by local faces Tooting and Mitcham FC, the Met Police and Merton’s Fire stations.

To assist women’s aid on its mission to put a stop to domestic violence Safer Merton is asking ‘Real Men’ to help us to send out the message that ‘Real Men’ do not abuse and control women – physically, emotionally, sexually or financially. They are also asking that a ‘Real Man’ should not feel embarrassed to ask for help if he is the victim.

In Merton there were 1048 domestic offences recorded from April 2009 -March 2010. With a national figure of 1 in 4 women being victims of domestic violence in their life, this suggests the real figure could be much higher.

Domestic violence affects everyone in society, with little regard to sex, age, sexuality or ethnicity, for example, at least 20 per cent of victims in Merton are male victims.

Merton is doing a number of things to try and bring an end to this type of violence. Just one of these is the One Stop Shop, which opened in September 2010. The One Stop Shop is a multi-agency service offering confidential and professional support and advice from a wide range of sources. Victim Support, Merton Council, the Metropolitan Police, Citizens Advice Bureau and many more organisations are all working together to reflect the wide-ranging impact domestic violence can have upon a family.

You can support the campaign by purchasing a t-shirt or signing an online pledge on the women’s aid website.

Cabinet member for community safety and engagement, Councillor Edith Macauley said:

“Domestic violence is something that no one should ever have to experience. Unfortunately though, it continues to be an issue and this is why here in Merton we are working hard to make sure residents have access to support services.

“The One Stop Shop offers confidential advice and a wide range of expertise and I encourage any residents affected by domestic violence to seek out help, don’t suffer alone.”

For more information on domestic violence and a directory of services visit http://www.merton.gov.uk/domesticviolence

Notes to editors:

Tooting and Mitcham FC are supporting the campaign for the second year and will be warming up in “Real Man” t-shirts for their home game against Carshalton which kicks off 3pm 20 November. Photographers are invited to attend.

One Stop Shop: Mondays 9.30am – 12.30pm, Morden Baptist Church, Crown Lane, Morden, SM4 4BL

Women’s aid is the main national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children. They support a network of over 500 domestic and sexual violence services across the UK.

To make your online pledge or buy a t-shirt from women’s aid go to http://www.womensaid.org.uk/real-man

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Press Contact:

Leoni Munslow

Communications Assistant

London Borough of Merton

020 8545 4654