Comment: Help for domestic violence victims

Iain Stewart
Iain Stewart

I have been able to hold more street surgeries across the city this month, thanks to an improvement in the weather.

I had successful surgeries in Bletchley and Woburn Sands, but I would also like to thank the organisers at the Stony Stratford farmers’ market who kindly helped arrange for me to hold my most recent surgery in the market square.

This month, Mark Lancaster and I also hosted the first of what we hope will be regular meetings to discuss the issue of domestic violence in Milton Keynes.

The meeting brought together different faith and community group leaders, as well as councillors and charities from across the city.

There is a need to raise awareness of the issue and let people know of the support available to victims. Recent surveys by the domestic violence charities Refuge and Women’s Aid suggested that over a third of women didn’t know where to go to for support and over half of those questioned stated they know or suspect that someone in their life has experienced domestic violence.

Sadly fewer than one in four people who suffer abuse at the hands of their partner – and only around one in ten women who experience serious sexual assault – report it to the police. I hope that by raising awareness of these issues we can help people get the support they need. Our next scheduled meeting is at the end of June.

> This month I was delighted to join members of our local Sikh community to celebrate the festival of Vaisakhi at the Leadenhall Gurdwara on April 14. Vaisakhi is the Sikh New Year festival and it also commemorates 1699, the year Sikhism was born as a collective faith.

Many thanks to Sam Singh, secretary of the Sikh Society of Milton Keynes, for kindly inviting me along for the day.

> This month I look forward to visiting the Queen Eleanor Primary School, Stony Stratford, to speak to Year six pupils ahead of the upcoming Key Stage 2 SATs on May 13 and looking around the library facilities.

I will also be joining firefighters at Bletchley Fire Station, as part of my time shadowing public sector workers, to seethe challenges they face on a daily basis.

Contact: email:
Tel: 01908 686830

By Post: House of Commons, 
London, SW1A 0AA.