Tower Hamlets has launched a new initiative this week to deal with the issue of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) in the borough.
The launch took place at a conference on Wednesday May 15 in the Osmani Centre in Whitechapel. The event was set up to offer an opportunity for local residents and professionals working in support services to find out more about the council’s plan.
One of the attendees was Tahira, who works for a local children’s centre in Tower Hamlets, she said: “[Violence against Women and Girls] is definitely a big problem in Tower Hamlets. In fact, just as I was walking into the building I bumped into a mum telling me about a recent incident.”
The conference featured a range of speakers from the Council, VAWG and community sectors, as well as police and other specialist support services. One of the speakers was the Deputy Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Ohid Ahmed who explained that the plan has been developed as a result of high rates of violence against women and girls in the borough.
“Last year there were 6,625 incidents reported and this is higher than any other borough. We want to address this problem.”
Another issue that the Deputy Mayor emphasized was that many incidents go unreported because the victim does not know where to turn to for help and support.
The council’s plan has been set up to expand the understanding of VAWG and its impact, as well as increase support services. The initiative is focused on the following areas: domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking and prostitution, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, so-called honour-based violence, forced marriages, dowry related abuse and stalking harassment.
It is a multi-agency partnership plan which brings together a variety of different organisations so they can work closely together to prevent and support women and girls affected by violence.
The VAWG Strategy Manager, Fiona Dwyer, said that the plan is set up to have a long lasting effect:
“Each year we are going to examine the outcomes and have a look and see where the plan needs to be revised. Where it is working and where it is not working.”