An event was held at the LMC to raise awareness of safety issues relating to women in the community.


Shahanara Begum: Yesterday an event was held at the LMC to raise awareness of safety issues relating to women in the community with a particular focus on ethnic minority women.  The event was an initiative of Tower Hamlets Council, the police, the Somali Integration Team and the Tower Hamlets Community and Safety Board. There were many other information stalls from community organisations.

There were workshops and speeches by people who work at the forefront of community safety including Margaret Aberdeen who is a life coach and shared her inspiring story of early experiences of domestic violence. Mayor Lutfur Rahman was invited as a special guest speaker who spoke of the initiatives he had taken for a safer and more representative community. He said “In my term as Council Leader I have put more police on the streets and all police were given training on cultural and religious matters.” He went on to say domestic abuse was a “blight in the lives of too many women” and he had taken steps to ensure gender barriers were broken. “Almost half of my Cabinet are women who are strong and capable individuals. They have struggled with race and gender prejudices to become successful. I hope they will be a role model to other women in this community.”

There was also a Q and A panel; responding to questions from the audience were Mary Durkin, Head of Youth and Community Service, Paul Rickett, Metropolitan Borough Commander, Shabina Choudhury, Gateway Women’s Housing, Emily Fieran-Reed, Partnership manager of LBTH Community Safety Service and Justin Moore, Police and Community Safety Board. Mr Rickett after the informative session addressing resident’s wide ranging concerns over safety issues said “We have a compulsory arrest policy of all domestic violence phone calls. It takes a victim to be abused and assaulted up to 20 times before they have the courage to pick up the phone therefore we need to ensure this is followed through.” Fatema Begum a participant said “I found the talks and information stalls very informative, relevant and useful.” Rabia Begum another attendee said “I find it very inspiring that the council has organised this event and taking steps to ensure women receive the support they need and bringing awareness of their rights as an individual and the services out there to support victims.”

The event was well attended with 300 attendees from a wide spectrum of backgrounds and full interpretations of the talks were given in Somali by Safia Jam’a and Mohammed Yousuf. The programme ended on a high note as delicious Somali cuisine was

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