As the annual White Ribbon Campaign draws to a close this week, London has seen a crackdown by the Metropolitan Police on domestic violence. Almost 150 people were arrested in dawn raids across the capital on 25 November -the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. And the start of two weeks of international action to combat violence against women.
In Hackney, the borough’s Community Safety Unit arrested 11 people for offences ranging from actual bodily harm (ABH) to common assault. A 33 year old woman and a 38 year old man were both charged with ABH and remanded in custody. A further two individuals were bailed to return pending further enquiries, and three were given a caution.
DCI Jamie Armstrong of Hackney Police, said: “Hackney Police is committed to tackling violence in all its forms and aims to intervene at the earliest opportunities to protect and support victims of both sexes and make the perpetrators accountable. We are taking a proactive approach in order to bring those responsible to justice and support the victims of these heinous crimes.”
The raids are part of the Met’s on-going Operation Athena, now in its tenth year, which combats all hate and faith crimes, as well as violence against women and vulnerable people. During these two weeks, the Met runs an annual campaign in conjunction with specialist support services and community groups, to bolster efforts targeting domestic violence. Last year’s November operation saw over 300 arrests, 170 of whom were charged or cautioned.
Metropolitan Police statistics show that two women are murdered each week in England and Wales at the hands of partners or ex-partners, and domestic homicide accounts for over 25 percent of murders in London. The Met no longer relies on witness statements to arrest individuals suspected of domestic violence, and will pursue abusers independently.
DCI Jamie Armstrong of Hackney Police, said: “We are encouraging third party reporting and are developing stronger links with communities most at risk. We know that these types of crime are still under reported and we will continue to work hard to gain the trust and confidence of communities so that victims feel that they can come forward.
“My key message to victims of these offences is tell us what is happening so we can help you but if you can’t tell the police – tell someone.”
Dawn raids were carried out nationwide last week and arrests for offences including domestic violence and harassment were made across the three other boroughs. Tower Hamlets officers made 14 arrests, the Lewisham raids resulted in 13 and in Croydon ten men and a woman were arrested as part of the campaign.
The White Ribbon Campaign is an international effort, launched in 1991 by a group of Canadian men after the brutal mass shooting of 14 female students at the University of Montreal. Known as the Montreal Massacre, in 1989 a gunman entered the university and targeted only the women. Each year, men are urged to wear a white ribbon throughout the duration of the campaign.
The national 24-hour domestic violence helpline: 0808 2000 247
In an emergency always dial 999.