Date of release: Monday, December 15, 2014

Abi DurosaroA £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund has enabled a University of Greenwich undergraduate to set up a 24/7 helpline and support network for victims of domestic abuse.

Abi Durosaro developed her concept of a Safe Haven Network for women and children facing violence as part of her BSc (Hons) Public Health studies.

She says: “Victims of domestic violence are often too frightened to come forward to ask for help. This is a particular problem for many ethnic minorities where the subject is often taboo.

“Women often suffer in silence and only seek support when they feel their children are at serious risk. The Safe Haven Network provides a confidential helpline day and night offering advice about the key support services available and how to access them.”

The Safe Haven Network is being launched in Abbey Wood, Woolwich, Greenwich and Kidbrooke.

More than 4,450 cases of domestic violence were reported in Greenwich in 2012 – 2013, which represents 13 per cent of all recorded crime in the area..

These figures also include violent abuse in teenage intimate relationships which is now recognised as a major public health problem across the UK, leading to premature death, poor sexual health, mental health difficulties and unplanned pregnancies.

Professor Pam Maras, Head of Psychology, Social Work and Counselling in the Faculty of Education & Health, says: “The Safe Haven Network is the result of Abi’s second year Health Promotion assignment aiming to raise awareness of intimate relationship violence.

“Abi, and her Public Health programme leader, Charlotte Jeavons, are to be congratulated on taking this forward and gaining the funding to make the support network a reality.”

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Abi Durosaro.