Strengthening Criminal Justice Responses and Supporting Survivors
Central London, Thursday 25th October 2018
35% of women across the world experience violence in their lifetimes (WHO, 2017). According to Government estimates, one in five women has experienced sexual assault and over one in four have experienced domestic abuse in the UK (Home Office, 2016).
Furthermore, 137,000 girls and women are living with the consequences of FGM and 60,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of FGM. Violence against women and girls (VAWG) has detrimental consequences for its victims – one sixth of homeless women expressed that domestic violence contributed to their homelessness, and 41% of women in prison have experienced domestic violence and/or sexual abuse (Home Office, 2016).
In response to the growing challenges of VAWG, the Government published a national strategy entitled Ending Violence against Women and Girls: Strategy 2016 – 2020, to challenge traditional harmful practices and increase reporting by 2020. Additionally, stressing that VAWG is ‘everyone’s business’, the Government have allocated £80m to facilitate a multi-agency response. The strategy stresses the importance of early intervention, by focusing on challenging social norms and educating young people about healthy relationships, abuse and consent.
Despite the significant policy progress that has been made, critiques have been made regarding their impact. Recent statistics show that while an increasing of reports end in convictions, the volume of reports to the police has stayed stagnant (CPS 2017). Furthermore, is estimated that only 15% of those who experience sexual violence choose to report to the police (Home Office, 2016). Critics have also mentioned that the national strategy fails to adequately address those most at risk of violence: women from underprivileged and BAME backgrounds, domestic workers, sex workers and victims of trafficking (ActionAid, 2017).
In view of these persistent challenges, this symposium will offer local authorities, police officers, women’s rights organisation and other key stakeholders with a timely and invaluable opportunity to share knowledge and best practice to collectively strengthen our response to VAWG.
- Evaluate the implementation of Ending Violence against Women and Girls: Strategy 2016 – 2020
- Investigate effective strategies to increase prosecution rates and tackle underreporting
- Share best practice on how to support survivors of VAWG access high-quality specialist services
- Explore the role of the voluntary and community sector in delivering effective localised support
- Address how those who are at risk of violence are affected by heightened vulnerability factors
- Explore the importance of partnership working and discuss how best to implement effective multi-sector collaboration
- Discuss VAWG warning signs and train relevant actors to recognise them
- Consider the role of schools in preventing VAWG and ensure programmes are in place to facilitate positive Sex and Relationships Education