We welcome the Mayor of London’s long-term ambition to eradicate male violence against women from the city and were pleased to have an opportunity to feed into the strategy along with our sector colleagues.
We are pleased to see the commitment from the Deputy Mayor to continue to work with specialist VAWG sector to deliver the strategy in London and the recognition of and commitment to work with and fund ‘by and for’ services which understand and support survivors’ intersectional experiences of VAWG.
We welcome the commitments to improving victim and survivors’ experiences of the criminal justice system and ongoing funding of support services including the four Rape Crisis Centres, one of which we run, and the commitment to develop a profile of stalking in London, an offence which is still too little understood by the police and wider agencies.
The strategy also includes a feasibility study for a pilot providing free independent legal advice for victims on the issue of privacy and data, which will make a huge difference to the victims and survivors we work with who choose to report to the police.
We are also pleased to see MOPAC’s commitment to DA Matters training, and to ensuring it is trauma informed and culturally competent, recognising the intersectional experiences of victims and survivors. We welcome City Hall’s support for Valerie’s Law, which Sistah Space are campaigning for in order to improve responses to Black women experiencing domestic abuse.
We are delighted that MOPAC will work with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to implement HMICFRS’ recommendations in response to the super complaint made by Liberty and Southall Black Sisters to create a safe reporting environment. No one should risk immigration controls when seeking safety from abuse.
We are also pleased to see the strategy more explicitly recognise the links between VAWG and housing with a commitment from MOPAC and the GLA “to ensure London’s policies, practices and support services on reducing rough sleeping and homelessness are informed by an understanding of housing insecurity as a cause and consequence of VAWG”.
Our work on housing and the Women’s Development Unit - our partnership with The Connection at St Martin- have been raising the need for the response to women’s homelessness to go beyond the safe accommodation duty for some time.
Judith Banjoko, Interim CEO said,
“We look forward to supporting the Mayor of London to implement this strategy and welcome the ambition to make London a safe city for all women, which cannot be achieved without a relentless focus on prevention and an end to data sharing for women with insecure migration status. Only then can we tackle the root causes of VAWG and make it safe for every victim to report when it does happen.
“The recognition of the impact of Covid-19 on survivors and on the women working tirelessly in our sector is also welcome, and we look forward to supporting the work to attract more and more diverse people to our sector to provide the incredible professional and empathetic support and advocacy our staff deliver daily.
“I’m pleased to see the Mayor has heard our calls for women’s homelessness and VAWG to be better joined up, we hope he will go further and develop an intersectional strategy to end women’s homelessness with a gender- and trauma-informed lens.”