I would like to start by wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, and a happy new year.
As we approach Christmas I am also aware that it is one of the worst times of the year for domestic abuse victims, when the perpetrators of abuse and violence drink to excess and generally increase their control over their partners or family members.
Domestic abuse is present in all walks of life and covers a huge amount of destructive behaviour. It includes, financial control, emotional abuse, isolation, elder abuse, child abuse, FGM, coercive control and physical violence.
Victims and survivors are of all ages and although there are significant numbers of men, the vast majority of victims are women, and cases like the murder of Sarah Everard, shows just how much of problem we have with violence against women and girls. It also shows just how much we need to change the narrative and attitude around such violence and abuse. It should not be a case of lecturing victims about how they should be protecting themselves, or asking the victim, why they don’t leave their partners. We must stop the victim blaming and ensure that the perpetrators don’t beat and abuse their victims.
In Hillingdon, the Domestic abuse agenda is one that transcends the party-political divide. Cllr Jane Palmer is the Cabinet member for Health & Social Care, and her portfolio covers Domestic abuse. Cllr Janet Gardner is the Council’s Domestic abuse victims advocate and works with individual victims of Domestic Abuse, helping them regain their strength to be able to make their own decisions on all aspects of their lives. The council also has a very dedicated team of professional officers within the council, working to prevent and eradicate all forms of violence and abuse against women, children and men in Hillingdon and to support those victimised to achieve their full potential in life.
Finally, I would remind everyone that Domestic abuse is a crime and it is everyone’s responsibility to speak up for anyone that you think may be a victim. If you have any concerns or are worried about a family member, friend or neighbour, then please call for help. If anyone is in immediate danger, please dial 999 and ask for the police, or, if it’s not an emergency then call 101 or Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111. You can find more information on Domestic Abuse on the council’s website, https://hillingdon.gov.uk/abuse