Today (30 October), Imkaan has published 'From the Margin to the Centre: Proposal for an Alternative Bill addressing Violence Against Women and Girls', in response to the government's proposed Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill. The Alternative Bill presents an approach to addressing violence against women and girls (VAWG) that is based on a deep understanding of the diverse lived experiences of women and girls subjected to VAWG.
The Alternative Bill outlines a response to VAWG that is gendered and intersectional, in recognition that patriarchy and gender inequality are the root causes of VAWG. Because of this, the victims and survivors of violence are disproportionately women, who face a spectrum of violence including sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, forced marriage, so-called 'honour-based' violence, Female Genital Mutilation, and online harassment and grooming.
The government's proposed Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill is currently heavily focused on criminal justice, policing and surveillance. The Alternative Bill instead focuses on sustaining and resourcing expert by and for women's organisations, who have over 40 years of specialist experience in delivering life-saving services for victims and survivors.
Leah Cowan, Imkaan's Policy and Communications Coordinator explained:
"The Alternative Bill provides a framework for addressing violence against women and girls, directed by an intersectional lens, which acknowledges the needs of women and girls living at the intersections of different oppressions such as racism, border violence, and poverty.
By building from the margins to the centre, we create a response to violence that works for all women, including women who currently will not or cannot access state services due to a hostile environment which both deters women from reporting violence, and quite literally legislates against their pathways to support. Our Alternative Bill reiterates and seeks to reinforce the work of the expert by and for sector, which for decades has provided woman-centred, holistic and wraparound support for women and girls facing and at risk of violence."
Summary of the Alternative Bill
Alternative Bill Background Paper
3-page summary of the Alternative Bill