Short Stories: Long Liveswas commissioned by Brent Domestic Violence Forum and features first-person accounts from nine people who have survived domestic violence talking about their experiences.
The stories include those of a Bosnian refugee, Irish travellers, and domestic violence survivors from the African-Caribbean, Asian and also South American communities.
The DVD, which was directed by Brent-based film-maker Anita Jakhu, will be used in a short format for training in the borough, but will be made available to the public in a longer format to help raise greater awareness of the issues in the film.
The premiere at the Tricycle theatre in Kilburn on Wednesday (November 23) was attended by more than 200 people and addressed by Sarbjit Ganger, chair of Brent Domestic Violence Forum, Brent Borough Commander Chief Inspector Mark
Toland, poet David Neita, London South Bank University academic Roxane Agnew-Davies and Davina James Hanman, director of the Greater London Domestic Violence Project.
Councillor Valerie Brown, lead member for community safety in Brent, said:
“Domestic violence is not acceptable. This is an important piece of work and I believe it should be seen by everyone particularly those working in agencies that deliver services to individuals or families experiencing domestic violence.”
Alison, a survivor who speaks in the film, said: “Making this film has really brought everything I have achieved into focus; it really feels now that I have closure. I can say now that I am a survivor not a victim. I can leave the past in the past, I can stand up and say this has happened to me and you can survive it too.”
Brent Police Borough Commander Mark Toland said: “The one place we should always feel safe is at home. The residents of Brent have my personal commitment that my officers will tackle domestic violence and bring violent offenders to justice. In the majority of cases police are not called the first time a domestic violence incident occurs. For a variety of reasons we are called after numerous assaults. I want the police and partners to be seen as a first place to go for help and not seen as a last resort.”
Brent Domestic Violence Forum is a multi-agency initiative founded in 1985 by residents and voluntary sector groups.
The forum aims to bring together voluntary, community and statutory partners to improve the co-ordination of services in Brent.
Brent Police estimated in 2004/5 that between eight and ten crimes in Brent per 1,000 are related to domestic violence, one of the highest recorded rates in the UK – and that domestic violence makes up 35 per cent of all reported violentcrime in Brent.
The British Crime Survey in 2003 estimated that only 20 per cent of all domestic violence incidents are ever reported.