On Monday 5 December, as part of the 16 Days of Activism for Violence Against Women and Girls, Barking and Dagenham Council in partnership with specialist domestic abuse support provider Cranston, unveiled a special commemorative plaque on a bench outside Barking Learning Centre, in recognition of all women and girls who have experienced domestic abuse.
The council is committed to tackling domestic abuse across the borough. It has the highest reported cases of abuse in the country, and in order to address it, the council have joined forces with Cranston to undertake groundbreaking programmes looking to get to the root cause of domestic abuse and deliver interventions focused specifically on the perpetrators of abuse.
In May 2020 Cranston started delivering their Men and Masculinities course to great success and in the first quarter filled their programmes.
Cranston also piloted the ReMove Programme, the first intervention of its kind. The perpetrator is removed from the family home for a maximum of 6 months providing him (or her) with rent free accommodation; in return it provides the victims/survivor with some breathing space to think about what they want and reach out for support and advice. The perpetrator has to commit to completing the 24-week Men and Masculinities programme, whilst supporting the victim/survivor (if safe to do so) by contributing financially with mortgage/rent payments, paying child maintenance and childcare. The victim/survivor is supported by a women’s safety officer throughout the 6 months. It is then the decision of the victim/survivor if they wish to resume the relationship.
Cllr Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership & Engagement, said: “Too many women and their families have been impacted by domestic abuse, including here in our borough, and sadly we know that some women have tragically lost their lives.
“We want to remember all those women who have or are going through domestic abuse; no one should suffer in silence. Everyone has the right to feel safe, protected and empowered and there is support out there.
“Most importantly if you are experiencing domestic abuse, please know this - we believe you!”
Cllr Syed Ghani, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety, highlights the importance of work like the programmes with specialist providers like Cranston do to tackle the root causes of domestic abuse.
He adds that: “The victims are not to blame for the abuse they face, the cause sits squarely with the person perpetrating it. People who choose to use abusive behaviours can also choose to stop, and there is support available to assist with changing behaviour.
“Through our work with Cranstoun we are working on alternative early interventions with the perpetrators of abuse with the aim of keeping families safe at home and stopping the cycle of abuse by recognising patterns of behaviour”.
Charlie Mack, CEO of Cranston said: “At Cranston we believe in empowering and supporting victims and survivors of domestic abuse, and challenging and changing the abusive behaviours of perpetrators. We work in partnership with multiple agencies to ensure an effective co-ordinated response that tackles domestic abuse and its root causes. The commemorative plaques provided by Cranstoun aim to raise awareness of domestic abuse and we are proud to have been part of this initiative”.
Anyone experiencing domestic abuse in Barking and Dagenham, contact our independent domestic abuse service (provided by Refuge) – Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm on freephone 0300 456 0174 or the 24-hour number 0808 2000 247. They will give you the help and support you need to make you safe. If you are in immediate danger, please contact the police on 999.