Nov 27 2012

Young performers help to raise awareness of domestic violence in Harrow

Groups dedicated to putting a stop to domestic violence helped to raise awareness of the issue at an event hosted by the Harrow Domestic & Sexual Violence Forum, in partnership with Harrow Council.

The Council marked White Ribbon Day and International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women & Girls with a forum in the Council Chamber on November 21. Due to a recent Government announcement that the definition of domestic violence will now include victims aged 16 and 17, the day focused on young victims.

It began with a moving performance from young volunteers who are part of the National Citizenship Programme, and had been tasked with reproducing the story of Lily, a young victim of violence. One of the performers, 16-year-old Rocio, said: “It did make us think about the issue. You don’t really hear about this kind of stuff from people so it did help to highlight it to us as well.”

Vishal,17, who played the perpetrator in the performance, said: “It definitely opened my eyes to the issue and made me think a lot more, particularly about how young people can be affected by violence.”

People at the conference also heard about the domestic and sexual violence survey, which is being given out to young people across the borough.

The Council and its partners are keen to continue gathering responses to the survey, particularly within Harrow schools, which will help to gauge attitudes and awareness of domestic and sexual violence, and shape services and the way help is offered in the future. Harrow is committed to its work with young people on this issue and we are in the early stages of developing this work.

The day also marked the launch of the new Young Persons Sexual Violence Safety Card, a pocket-size booklet being given out to young people which contains information on staying safe and where to get help for victims.

[pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”30%”]We must not wait until a child becomes a victim of violence…[/pullquote]

Speakers included an Independent Sexual Violence Advocate (ISVA) from the Wish Centre, representatives from young person’s charity Tender, AVA (Against Violence and Abuse), The Havens Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Paddington, and a panel made up of the charities, Chief Superintendent Dalwardin Babu from Harrow Police and a representative from Harrow Children & Families.

Cllr Margaret Davine, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care, Health and Wellbeing, said: “This event has helped to inform people about domestic violence, what is done to prevent it and what people can do to get help if they are experiencing it. Hopefully the performance by youngsters, as well as the other speakers we have heard from, have helped to make people aware of how important it is to tackle domestic and sexual violence, especially when it directly affects young people. Today we have seen how important it is to support those who have been affected by a violent relationship.


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