Holloway charity Solace Women’s Aid: ‘Violence against women in Islington is increasing’
12:19 29 November 2016
Crimes against women in Islington are escalating. Sunita Chauhan, of Solace Women’s Aid, Holloway, tells the Gazette we must not ignore it.
Sickening. It’s the only word to describe Solace Women’s Aid’s stats for violence committed against women in Islington in the past year.
In the year to September, there were more than 2,000 domestic crimes (up 11 per cent on the previous year), 335 sexual offences and, horrifyingly, 191 rapes.
Hundreds of women from Islington turned to Solace Women’s Aid, in Brewery Road.
Sunita Chauhan, team manager of Solace’s advocacy and support service for Islington, is helping the charity lead the fight by offering life-changing help for survivors.
Friday was White Ribbon Day, a national campaign to stop violence against women and girls. Sunita said the scale of abuse – including psychological – in this borough needs to be made known.
“It’s a major issue here. In Islington, we know those 2,000 domestic crimes are only the tip of the iceberg – we know many incidents don’t get reported at all.
“As a service, we are taking in 900 people from Islington in a year. That’s a lot for such a small borough – we support an overall 11,000 people from 21 boroughs.
“I can’t say why it’s an issue specifically in Islington, because it’s such a prevalent issue everywhere in the country. It’s on the increase, although part of that could be that more people are aware of our service in Brewery Road. I think we have helped make it less of a taboo to report these crimes.”
Sunita, who has been in the role for six months, oversees the team that works to help women overcome trauma and move on with their lives.
She added: “People come to our centre having experienced many types of domestic abuse: physical, sexual, emotional, psychological. They could have experienced abuse from numerous partners who have exerted power and control over them.
“We ensure those women receive the right support, while being cohesive with partner agencies like the police and council. Because of the abuse, they may have mental health issues or substance addiction. Their children may be suffering. We are there to give them a hand.”