Sistah Space, a community-based non-profit initiative created to bridge the gap in domestic abuse services for African heritage women and girls in Hackney, was showcased on ITV’s Tonight programme on Thursday, 5 May 2022. The 30-minute current affairs segment uncovered topics surrounding domestic abuse.
The episode was entitled “Controlled By My Partner – The Hidden Abuse,” where ITV presenter and journalist Ruth Dodsworth explored the crime of coercive control and what needs to be done to end domestic abuse. Sistah Space’s CEO Ngozi Fulani and other members of the team were interviewed in relation to law enforcement and social service agencies dealing with reports by women of African and Caribbean heritage.
The organisation is petitioning for Valerie’s Law, which requires mandatory cultural competency training for agencies supporting black domestic violence victims. This is in response to the death of Valerie Forde and her 22-month old daughter who were killed in Hackney by the baby’s father who did not live with them. Forde contacted the police prior explaining a threat was made to her live, but it was logged as a ‘Threat to Property’ and no safeguarding mechanisms were activated.
The Home Office has labelled coercion control as an abhorrent crime and, in latter 2022, the Domestic Abuse Act will cover this offence.
Tonight is ITV’s longest current-affairs programme, which replaced World in Action in 1999. It is on series 24. The episode with Sistah Space (#14), can be viewed on ITV Hub.