East London Lines
November 22, 2012 | Posted by: Heather Saul |
Amnesty International Pic: Javacolleen
A charity has launched a programme this month to protect young girls and women who are at a greater risk of sexual abuse.
The Safe Choices programme was introduced in Hackney and Islington on November 8 by Nia, a charity set up to prevent violence against women and children.
The programme aims to provide advice and support to girls and young women between the ages of 13 and 25 who may be exposed to gang culture, domestic violence or criminal activity.
The charity has been working to engage with women to provide specialist services, intensive one to one support sessions and group work.
Police have recorded 126 cases of rape, 239 other sexual offences and1,609 domestic violence crimes in Hackney over the last year.
Karen Ingala Smith, chief executive for Nia said: “Violence against women happens every day, and we provide a service that works to end gender based violence.
“Independent research tells us that women want specialist women-only services, and as long as women want and need us, we’re determined to be here for them.”
Dr Julia Long, head of operations for Safe Choices, said that Curtis Benson’s conviction last week “absolutely highlighted the need” for the newly launched campaign.
Benson was handed a six year custodial sentence on November 15 for raping a Hackney woman in her own home. Benson had told the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, that she was lucky he hadn’t turned up with five men.
Safe Choices programmes in Hackney and Islington will be funded by the Big Lottery Funds’ Reaching Communities programme.
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