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Commission launched to reduce violence in London's worst borough for domestic abuse

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A commission has been launched to reduce violence in London’s worst borough for domestic abuse.

Barking and Dagenham council’s domestic abuse commission, which includes MP Jess Phillips, will explore not only how to prevent violence but find better ways to support victims. City Hall hopes it can form the basis of future policy across the capital. 

Barking and Dagenham has the highest number of reported domestic violence offences in London, with 12.8 per 1,000 people in 2017-18. A survey of 2,500 secondary school children in the borough revealed 26 per cent believed it acceptable to hit your partner, and 32 per cent thought it sometimes fair to use threatening language.

Ms Phillips, chairwoman of the all-party parliamentary group on domestic violence and abuse, said she had spent decades campaigning for compulsory sex and relationship education in schools. 

But, she added, the difference would not be seen for 10 years. “It can’t just be an education video one week when 26 per cent of kids are saying it’s okay to hit your partner. It should matter as much as the core education system. That is why this commission is so important,” she said.

The 12-member commission, chaired by Shelter chief executive Polly Neate, will speak to charities, young people, victims and experts before making recommendations, which will aim to create change in attitudes towards violence in the home.

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