WE are concerned about the Governments recent statement on #VAWG strategy that is a huge departure from a fully integrated VAWG approach to a fragmented dual-strategy approach.
Without consultation with women's groups (do WE detect a theme?-sigh), the Government has announced a new VAWG strategy framework This is deeply concerning and an unprecedented move away from the best practice model of a systematic integrated strategy- so, instead of one strategy, we have two; one focusing on violence against women and girls (VAWG), and a separate strategy on domestic abuse (DA).
'Although the content and implementation of the Government’s VAWG Strategy has been far from satisfactory, it nevertheless laid down a sound basis for combating VAWG. Many of us view the current VAWG Strategy as an evolving framework that can be strengthened and built upon to create a more inclusive and effective foundation for understanding and eradicating gender-based violence in all its forms. Our fear is that this unfinished work will now suffer a serious set-back.......... We strongly dispute the idea that a dual strategy approach will strengthen policies or services in relation to either domestic abuse or VAWG. In fact, it risks the de-gendering of domestic abuse, the de-prioritisation of certain forms of VAWG and de-funding smaller specialist services. It will create confusion and silos of understanding VAWG, encourage even more inconsistency in implementation and dilute and weaken our approach to new and emerging forms of abuse. It will also create unacceptable levels of pressure on women’s organisations through the duplication of work, particularly at this time when the sector is already exhausted and under-resourced due to exceptionally high demand created by years of austerity and more recently by the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will place extra burdens on smaller specialist BME organisations in particular, since it will require even more resources to engage with multiple consultations on VAWG, DA and other similar strategies. Failure to do so, will lead to an even greater exclusion of marginalised women. A comprehensive and integrated VAWG strategy on the other hand will help to avoid these pit falls.' - Southall Black Sisters
Please see their full statement here.
So what can WE do?
follow this link to Southall Black Sisters statement and toolkit and follow their four point action.
1 Sign the Statement (scroll to the bottom of their page).
2 Please use their template email to contact Victoria Atkins (Victoria@victoriaatkins.org.uk & VAWGStrategy2021@homeoffice.gov.uk) and to ask your MP to raise questions in Parliament. You can find your MP here.
3 Please contact your WEP branch, Mandu Reid and our VAWG spokesperson Tabitha Morton either with this blog, or SBS statement and ask them to join SBS in raising concerns.
4 Complete the Government's VAWG consultation process, & make clear at the outset that you disagree with the dual strategy approach and urge the Government to adopt a single framework for tackling VAWG that includes domestic abuse.
In addition, please contact Mandu Reid & Tabitha Morton (VAWG spokesperson) & ask them to consider a formal WEP position on the new proposals in support of SBS.