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New service for domestic violence victims in Redbridge ‘will save lives’

PUBLISHED: 10:27 18 March 2016

L-R Pat Reynolds, Cllr Farah Hussain, Tracey Blackwell, Cllr Jas Athwal, Det Sup Mandy Beacher, Mark Benbow. Photo: Sandra Rowse

L-R Pat Reynolds, Cllr Farah Hussain, Tracey Blackwell, Cllr Jas Athwal, Det Sup Mandy Beacher, Mark Benbow. Photo: Sandra Rowse

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The one in four women affected by domestic violence (DV) was called a “figure that cannot be tolerated” at a new service launch on Friday.

Gone but not forgotten

Sept 2015 - Karen Reid, 53, and her new partner John Down, 86, were stabbed to death by Karen’s ex-partner Paul Mallin, 51, at Fernways sheltered housing unit in Cecil Road, Ilford.

May 2015 - Rethish Kumar Pullarkattil Kunjunny, 44, strangled his wife Shighi Kotuvala Padmanabhan, 37, and their twin girls Niya and Neha Rethishkumar, 13, to death at their home in Juniper Court, Grove Road, Chadwell Heath.

Dec 2014 - Sannah Javed, 26, was beaten to death at her home in Frank Slater House, Green Lane, Ilford by abusive partner, Abu Hussain, 38.

Oct 2014 - Magdalena Anna Welna, 23, was stabbed to death in Valentines Road, Ilford, by Victor Banjo Ogundunmade, 27 who believed he was in a relationship with her after they met online.

Oct 2013 - Romanian sex worker Mariana Popa, 24, was six weeks pregnant when she was stabbed twice in the chest and murdered in Ilford Lane by Farooq Shah, 23.

Kevin Doherty, 57, of Sherwood Avenue, South Woodford was jailed in 2013 for the manslaughter of his partner Jane Harrison, 32, 18 years previously. Her body has never been found.

Cllr Jas Athwal, council leader, highlighted the shocking number at the Refuge - Redbridge Violence against Women and Girls Service (RVAWGS) event.

“It is a sad fact that we have to start services,” he said.

During the past two-and-a-half-years five women, one man, and two children have died as a result of domestic situations.

Cllr Farah Hussain, cabinet member for A Fairer Redbridge said a service DV health check in 2012 showed more could be done to protect victims.

Clare’s Law - the ‘right to ask’ about history of violence

The tragic death of a 36-year-old woman, murdered by her violent ex-boyfriend in 2009, led to the initiative commonly known as “Clare’s Law”.

Strangled and set on fire by George Appleton in Salford, Greater Manchester, Clare Wood was unaware of his history of violence against women.

Her father, Michael Brown, campaigned for people to have the right to ask for information about partners and for the police and other agencies to have the power to take the initiative and tell someone if there are grounds for concern.

His campaign resulted in the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme being rolled out across England and Wales in 2014 and Scotland in 2015.

Concerned family members or friends of those posing the risk or the victim also have the “right to ask”

Police and partner agencies will carry out checks and if a record of abusive offences is held or other information to indicate a risk from the partner, the Police will consider sharing this information.

Applications need to be made at a Police Station in person where details of the query will be taken and a safe means of contact established.

You will need to give your name, address and date of birth.

She said: “While we were doing really well with dealing with incidents that were quite extreme, we were not doing so well with early intervention.

“This service is trying to rectify that.”

Cllr Athwal said: “It will save lives and it will make a real difference.

“If we can go from one in four to one in five, we are going the right way.”

Domestic crimes

183 cases were reported in Redbridge in January, roughly six per day.

Costs the borough around £30 million per year, this includes costs to the criminal justice system, health service, social care and housing.

One in four women and one in six men will be victims of domestic abuse.

Nationally, two women are murdered each week and 30 men per year.

Accounts for 16 per cent of all violent crime but is least likely to be reported to the police.

Has more repeat victims than any other crime.

Is the single most quoted reason for becoming homeless.

“We are determined to see a borough where domestic abuse is completely unacceptable,” added Cllr Hussain.

Delivered by national charity Refuge, the service now has one single point of access instead of several which confused people about where to go for help.

It began operating in November 2015 and has to date supported 168 people including three men.

Tracey Blackwell, the charity’s head of development, said: “55 per cent of those people reported a complete end to the abusive behaviour they were experiencing.”

A staged photo of a shadow of a man with a clenched fist as a woman cowers in the corner. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive/PA ImagesA staged photo of a shadow of a man with a clenched fist as a woman cowers in the corner. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive/PA Images

Police figures show 183 domestic crimes were committed in January. Overall figures for similar crimes in London were 6324.

Det Supt Mandy Beacher, 49, deputy borough commander said: “When the police service was first established it was to keep the Queen’s peace.

“We’ve moved on a bit now to keeping London safe, but if people cannot be safe in their own home, we are not doing a very good job.”

The police service uses dedicated Community Safety Units and specially trained officers to investigate domestic abuse.

Nationally, figures show that two women die every week and 30 men per year at the hands of current or ex-partners.

The new service also offers outreach support to women suffering other forms of sexual violence including trafficking, prostitution and honour crimes. In October 2013, sex worker Mariana Popa, 24, was six weeks pregnant when stabbed to death on Ilford Lane.

To make the service more visible to women on their own territory, outreach workers will work from community based organisations, such as health services.

If anyone feels threatened or is at risk of violence call Refuge on 08001697759 or visit redbridgevawg@refuge.org.uk


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