Camden Town Hall

An extra £400,000 will go towards tackling domestic abuse in Camden.

The decision by senior politicians follows an investigation into domestic violence and abuse by Camden Women’s Forum.

The forum heard from survivors and made a series of recommendations to the council, including:

  • Funding free legal advice for victims of domestic abuse.
  • Dedicated specialist domestic abuse programmes for children who witness domestic violence and abuse at home.
  • Setting up a Violence Against Women and Girls Board to coordinate work to keep them safe – with a launch in March.
  • Domestic Abuse Housing Accreditation and training so women do not have to repeat what happened to them to several people.
  • Improving data-sharing between police and schools to help affected children.

Helene Reardon-Bond, who co-chairs the Camden Women’s Forum, said the recent murders of Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa, Bibaa Henry, Nicole Smallman, and Primrose Hill resident Nicole Hurley, who died in October from multiple stab wounds, “have put into sharp focus that there is an epidemic of violence against women”.

She said a woman is murdered on average every three days in the UK, according to the Femicide Census, 2009-18.

She told Camden’s Cabinet meeting: “This has left women and girls feeling unsafe on our streets, and in their own homes, and impacts children.

“Now is the time to put in place long overdue protections for women and girls against unacceptable violence. Not just action against domestic homicides, rape, and street harassment, but also a strategy to tackle attitudes that underpin the abuse women and girls face.”

Cllr Abdul Hai, cabinet member for young people, equalities and social cohesion, said: “It is shocking to me that in the 21st century one in five in a lifetime will experience domestic violence.”

He said he wanted to see the criminal justice system take a tougher approach.

“It is completely unacceptable,” he said.

Last month, the council held a debate about women and girls’ safety during which women shared shocking experiences.

Women’s forum co-chair and cabinet member for the best start for children and families, Cllr Angela Mason, said: “We believe listening to, understanding, and amplifying the stories of those with lived experience of domestic abuse is key to creating change, which is why that’s been a focus of each of the forum’s inquiry sessions.

“Domestic abuse is everyone’s business, and we want to work together with the shared endeavour of tackling this.”

If people are experiencing domestic abuse or are worried about someone else’s relationship, they can contact Camden Safety Net, Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Tel: 0207 974 2526, email: Camdensafetynet@camden.gov.uk

In an emergency they should call 999.

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