Published Tuesday, 7th May 2019
Sutton Council’s domestic abuse awareness campaign has been described by the borough’s former Mayor as a ‘potential lifeline’ for victims
Councillor Jean Crossby is Sutton Council’s lead member for domestic abuse.
The authority officially launched its campaign to raise awareness of the help available to victims of domestic abuse, ‘Not Alone in Sutton’, today (7 May) via a new website http://notaloneinsutton.org.uk
Cllr Crossby knows first hand about the problems victims face. More than 40 years ago, she suffered domestic abuse for eight years by an ex husband.
She said: “So many people don’t know where to find help...and for those that do, the help is not always there.
“We want to change that. We want to get the message out everywhere. Get it outside schools. Get it online. The message is that there is help out there, and we can show you how to find it.”
Jean Crossby was elected as a councillor in 2014 and is lead member for domestic abuse. She was Mayor of Sutton in 2017/18 and during that year helped to raise £42,000 for local women’s charities.
Cllr Crossby believes the council’s campaign can change and save lives.
She said: “When domestic abuse happens to you, eventually, something inside you says, ‘You have to do something.’
“It’s like a light bulb moment. When this happens you are at your lowest. You know if you do not get away, that could be the last day you live. That’s how desperate this is.
“That’s the reason we have to get this message everywhere: that there’s a phone number I can call or a website to get help.
“When it happened to me 45 years ago, there was nowhere to go.
“I had eight years of it. It never leaves you. Scars heal, but what happens inside doesn’t.
“I really can’t stress how important it is. A lot of these people don't have access to computers, so that’s why people can look out for posters in the streets. Coercive controllers won’t allow you to have a computer. Many of the people we need to support don’t have the luxury of the internet.
“We have to start shouting for TfL to get it on the buses. It needs to be in their face. It isn’t getting out there at the moment.”
The Sutton Council Domestic Abuse campaign is a collaboration with police, the voluntary sector, schools, housing and other partner organisations.
Although attitudes towards domestic abuse have changed in the last 50 years, Cllr Crossby is in no doubt that much more is needed.
“Domestic abuse is the highest type of violent crime… even in sunny Sutton,” she said.
“Back in the day people said, ‘It’s your bed, you lie in it.’ Things have moved on quite a bit. In the last 45 years attitudes have changed, but not enough.
“We’ve got men and women dying of domestic abuse and we all need to do more. We need to offer a lifeline for victims”
Information is available at a dedicated campaign website notaloneinsutton.org.uk, for women, men, children and young people, older people, people with disabilities, LGBT+ and even perpetrators.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or know someone who is, help is available. You can use the contacts below. Local domestic abuse contacts in Sutton and south London are in bold:
- Victim Support
(London Victim Assessment and Referral Service)
Call 0808 168 9291 free (Mon–Fri 8am–8pm, Sat 9am–5pm)
- Sutton Domestic Violence One Stop Shop
Sutton Baptist Church, 21 Cheam Road, Sutton, SM1 1SN
Drop in or make an appointment through Victim Support on 020 7801 1777
Call 999 if you are in immediate danger, 101 at all other times.
Over three years £1.25 million is being invested to improve services relating to domestic abuse, including early intervention and prevention initiatives, such as working with schools.
Not Alone in Sutton is part of Sutton Council’s Domestic Abuse Transformation Programme.
Domestic Abuse Transformation Programme is a partnership involving Epsom and St Helier hospitals, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London Fire Brigade, Metropolitan Police Service, Primary and Secondary School Heads, Community Action Sutton (on behalf of the voluntary sector), Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group, Sutton Council and Sutton Housing Partnership.
Tackling domestic abuse in all its forms is a priority of The Sutton Plan www.thesuttonplan.org to ensure Sutton is a safer place for everyone.
Around 1.9 million people in England and Wales, aged between 16 and 59 years old, experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2017. That’s about 6% of people within that age range.
In the same period, domestic abuse-related crimes recorded by the police accounted for nearly a third of violent crimes (32%) and 11% of crimes in general. Between April 2013 and March 2016, 454 people were killed in domestic homicides (approximately three people a week) – nearly a third of all murders where the victim was aged 16 and over. Of this figure, 70% of victims were women. (ONS: ww.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/ bulletins/domesticabuseinenglandandwales/yearendingmarch201710)