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Law student crowned pupil of year for overcoming domestic violence

PUBLISHED: 09:51 11 February 2010 | UPDATED: 17:34 25 August 2010

A STUDENT who was forced to leave home at 17 to escape domestic violence has been rewarded for her bravery and hard work. University of Greenwich law student Tara Webb, 20, left home in the middle of her A Levels and had to live in temporary accommodatio

A STUDENT who was forced to leave home at 17 to escape domestic violence has been rewarded for her bravery and hard work.

University of Greenwich law student Tara Webb, 20, left home in the middle of her A Levels and had to live in temporary accommodation throughout her exams due to the violence of her mother's partner.

Now, in her final year of her LLB degree, she has been named Student of the Year and Law Student of the Year at a national awards ceremony for not deferring her studies due to her personal problems.

She said: "There was a lot of domestic violence in my life up until I was about 11. We moved a number of times to get away from one of my mum's partners. He tried to kill her with a knife. This happened more than once.

"I was living in emergency, then temporary, accommodation when I was doing my A Levels.

"Hostels - they were awful. I moved into a permanent home when I started at Greenwich, so that was literally all I had, a roof, while I waited for my loan to come through.

"I was advised to think about deferring a year but I didn't want to do that.

"I think maybe students at Greenwich are more determined than those elsewhere. There are no silver spoons here - we're prepared to work that bit harder to succeed."

The awards were presented to Miss Webb, from Chingford, by television presenter Konnie Huq at the Xcel Student of the Year Awards ceremony at the Tower London Hotel on January 21.

Law firm CMS Cameron McKenna sponsored the law award and have organised a vacation scheme for Tara this summer.

Now the determined student is setting up a domestic violence referral system for people at the university who are experiencing domestic violence or who are being forced into marriages.

She adds: "There are six of us involved and we're setting up an email service called Friends with Time which should be up and running this month.

"People can email us their problem which we pass on to a researcher who explains which domestic violence organisations are within their borough and the support they offer."

She is also due to launch a free helpline with family barristers from 4 Paper Buildings which will operate on the first Monday of every month.

Sarah Greer, head of law and criminology at the university, said: "I am absolutely delighted that Tara has won this prestigious award, and there could not have been a more deserving winner."

kate.mead@archant.co.uk


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