A proposed law that aims to tackle domestic abuse within the Black community has been discussed in Parliament. Sistah Space, a charity helping victims of domestic violence, has led the campaign for Valerie’s law.
The law is named after Valerie Forde and her 23-month-old daughter, Real-Jahzara, who were brutally murdered by her ex-partner Roland McKoy in 2014. Valerie had called the police six weeks before she was killed after McKoy threatened to burn down her house with them inside.
Police recorded it as a threat to property rather than a threat to life. He killed them both using a machete, a screwdriver and a hammer at their home in Hackney, north London. McKoy was jailed for 35 years for murder.
More than 106,000 people signed a petition to make specialist training mandatory for all police and other government agencies to support Black women and girls affected by domestic abuse.
“Too many African and Caribbean heritage women have not been afforded the same level of support that is offered to others. This can only be addressed by Cultural Competency training being rolled out across the police and other government agencies,” the description on the parliament’s website reads.
Training to support Black victims of domestic abuse
Opening the Commons debate earlier this weekend, Labour MP for Erith and Thamesmead Abena Oppong-Asare put the case to safeguarding minister Rachel Maclean for a new law. She said: “The fact that so many people across the country have signed this petition and the fact that there is no trust within the police at the moment, now is the time for the government to really put forward some sorts of training like this because this would help them regain the trust of many people, particularly Black women and victims of domestic abuse.
“There are real concerns that police officers and other agencies have a significant knowledge gap when it comes to the Black community and Black victims of domestic abuse. Victims may only have the energy to seek help once. This is why every agency – including councils, police forces, the NHS, and third sector organisations – must have the training to adequately support Black women from the start.”
During the debate, Home Office Minister MP Rachel Maclean said she will facilitate a meeting between Sistah Space and police. “We owe it to all victims and their families to use every measure at our disposal to prevent further tragedies. We expect all police forces to take necessary action to respond to all victims with the care and sensitivity they deserve.”
Article Source: Kent Live