Editor’s comment: No one should have to live with violence

Charities say domestic abuse victims are struggling to access the support they need. Picture: Laura

Charities say domestic abuse victims are struggling to access the support they need. Picture: Laura Dodsworth - Credit: Archant

Domestic violence is a scourge that affects the whole country but seems to be a particular problem in Havering.

Today an investigation by this newspaper, in partnership with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, looks at the issue and the difficulties faced by organisations trying to help the victims.

Historically only women have really been considered to suffer violence and abuse in the home. But men, and increasingly parents being assaulted by their children, are now reporting being victims.

Two years ago Havering Women’s Aid launched London’s only dedicated domestic violence helpline for men. And it has seen a big increase in men accessing its services.

Our investigation found that cases of domestic violence in Havering have almost doubled since 2012. And while we have better support services than many other boroughs, funding has been cut and those services are feeling the pressure.

The horrifying discovery by our investigations reporter Emma Youle that on average three or four women A DAY are being turned away by Havering’s two domestic violence refuges because of lack of places, should chill us all.

No one should have to live with someone who is violent towards them, regardless of age or gender.

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On a lighter note, Halloween approaches.

For those of my generation, it seems a recent import from the US with children dressing up and trick or treating.

But in fact the tradition of going house-to-house collecting food goes back to at least 16th century Britain.

If you are stocking up on treats for small visitors, cut out the poster in our Halloween supplement this week and display it in your window so they know they are welcome.

And if you are trick or treating, please make sure your “victims” are willing participants.