Merton lends a helping hand

To mark White Ribbon day (25 November) and the following 16 days of activism against gender violence campaign, the Safer Merton Partnership have been working with local groups to spread the message about how to help put an end to domestic violence.

Thankfully, domestic violence is relatively low in Merton. However in 2010 – 2011 there were still 849 reported domestic violence incidents and many more will have gone unreported.

Safer Merton, consisting of Merton Council, the Police, Victim support and many other partners have been pledging support to the message of ‘Hands are not for hurting’ which looks at the idea that although domestic abuse is not always physical, it is often hands that are used as a weapon by perpetrators.

Working with the Bumps to Babies group at the Abbey Children’s Centre for young mothers in the borough, Safer Merton officers have been doing hand painting and activities to get people thinking about this message and the ways in which those suffering at the hands of domestic violence can seek advice or help, for example through Merton’s One Stop Shop or the national advice line’s.

The One Stop Shop is a confidential service aiming to help victims of domestic violence by bringing together key agencies under one roof. Whether the client needs help with housing advice, wants to talk to the police or victim support or talk to a legal expert they can do this discreetly as and when they need to. Within the first year the service helped 100 people from around the borough and to date has helped 151 clients.

Councillor Maxi Martin, Merton Council’s Domestic Violence Champion said:

” Working closely with local groups is an excellent way to raise awareness of the issues being faced by those suffering domestic abuse. I hope that the work Safer Merton is doing will ensure that friends and families of those who may be dealing with abuse at home know that help is available.”

Councillor Edith Macauley, Merton Council cabinet member for community safety, engagement and equalities said:

” We are very keen to support White Ribbon Day and the many other campaigns that work tirelessly at this time of the year to highlight the problems people are facing and how people to get help. We are also keen to let those dealing with domestic abuse know that help is available all year round.”