Safe Lives. Strong Futures. Let's build them together.
Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman
Earlier this month was the two year anniversary of the senseless murder of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman. Together with many others, we are thinking of them, their family and friends and all families affected by male violence against women and girls (MVAWG).
MVAWG is an epidemic in the UK, 1 in 3 women experience abuse in their lifetime and a woman is killed every three days as a result of male violence and a further four women take their own life as a result of the trauma of their abuse. More than 1 in 20 women have experienced rape (including attempts) since the age of 16. The impact of abuse and violence on our society cannot be underestimated. It is heart-breaking and shocking that we continue to live with this and that in some areas, such as prosecutions for rape we are moving backwards.
We have launched our ‘Some Women Leave With Nothing, Your Donation Is Everything’ campaign. Many women experiencing domestic abuse have to make an unthinkable choice: a life of fear and violence or leave immediately, with nothing. Women and children often arrive at our refuges with nothing more than the clothes they are wearing.
A donation of £20 could help them feel protected and supported on the first night of their new life.
Chair of Covid-19 inquiry backs Solace's call for domestic abuse victims to be included in the Government inquiry into the pandemic response
Following Solace’s submission to the consultation on the Government’s Covid-19 inquiry earlier this year, Baroness Hallet, Chair of the independent Covid-19 inquiry, has recommended amending the terms to include “safeguarding and support for victims of domestic abuse”.
This would mean that the inquiry could review whether the Government took sufficient steps to mitigate and prevent the increased of risk abuse for women during the pandemic. We now call on the Prime Minister to accept this recommendation and ensure that lessons can be learned on how domestic abuse victims were supported during the covid-19 pandemic.
Last month, the Ministry of Justice published the Government’s draft Victims Bill. This legislation will put the Victims Code on a statutory footing, enshrining victims’ rights to:
Access specialist support services;
Be informed about how the criminal justice process works;
Have their voice heard, including through the right to meet the prosecutor where relevant; and
Challenge decisions made about cases that impact them.
We welcome the changes to recognise victims’ rights in legislation and will continue to work with the sector to make improvements to the Bill as it goes through the Draft Bill Committee, urging the Government to relook at the need for a duty to fund services for domestic abuse and sexual violence survivors in the community.
We are also calling on the Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention without the reservations it currently plans to use to exclude migrant victims.
We recently celebrated Volunteers’ Week and would like to take this opportunity once again to thank all our amazing volunteers for their invaluable contribution to helping us support women and girls. Visit our Twitter and Instagram pages (@solacewomensaid) to read more.
Did you know we are on TikTok? Follow us @solacewomensaid to keep up to date!