New domestic violence legislation and commissioner
Before the 8 June general election we wrote to party leaders and received responses which included commitments to new legislation and the creation of this area, as well as “stable funding” for women’s support services. The Queen’s Speech at the end of the month included confirmation that legislation will be introduced to ‘protect the victims of domestic violence and abuse’. EVAW and our members are talking to the Government and with our members and others about the content of legislation and other plans.
We are also keeping a watchful eye on Brexit developments. In particular we will follow the development of the Immigration Bill, as we know that women experiencing violence who have insecure immigration status, or whose status is tied to their partner, will potentially be heavily impacted by further immigration restrictions or limitations to freedom of movement.
Victory in campaign for ratification of Istanbul Convention
Following tireless campaigning by ICChange, at the end of June the Government also announced that it will be taking the final step to enable ratification of the Istanbul Convention. Once ratified in the UK, the Convention will recognise rape and domestic violence as serious crimes that can and should be prosecuted – even when they are perpetrated outside the UK.
Relationships and Sex Education – in development
In March legislation was passed making Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) compulsory in schools – a key measure for preventing abuse on the long term, which women’s organisations have long campaigned for. The Government is now preparing to consult on the content of the guidance that will go to schools for delivering ‘RSE’. EVAW hopes there will be consideration of changing school policies and practice, in responses to sexual assaults and other forms of VAWG for example, alongside this new school curriculum content. Just recently, the Children’s Commissioner has produced powerful research revealing that schools need to do much more to detect and prevent child sexual abuse; the NSPCC has reminded us of the impact of exposure to pornography on children and young people; and Plan UK’s report on ‘Girls’ rights in the digital world‘ documents the conflicting messages young people receive online, and the need for schools to receive guidance on best supporting young people to navigate the digital sphere.
Ensuring the human right to justice for violence against women and girls
We are anticipating hearing the judges’ findings on the case of serial rapist John Worboys soon. This is a critical case where women’s ability to hold the police to account when they fail in investigating rape is at stake. EVAW and our members believe it is critical that we defend this human right to justice in VAWG cases, and we plan to publish a new briefing on the importance of the Human Rights Act for women’s access to justice soon.
From 22-24 September Nasty Women are holding an exhibition of feminist art work by women artists, alongside a programme of comedy, music, spoken word and discussion panels in London.
Nasty Women is a global art movement which practices solidarity among artists who identify with being a ‘Nasty Woman’ in the face of threats to roll back women’s rights, individual rights, and abortion rights.
Any artist self-identifying as a Nasty Woman is welcome to submit work on the theme ‘Nasty Women’. Prices will start at £5, and all profits from the sale of the works will be donated to EVAW. More information on submitting artwork is available here.
Please support us to maintain our independent feminist voice
EVAW relies on generous supporters and funders to enable us to campaign with an independent, feminist voice – please donate today if you would like to help!