Today (4 December), organisations from across the BME ending violence against women and girls (VAWG) sector sent open letters to Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, outlining six steps the next government must take in order to address VAWG.
Download the letters to Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson here.
The steps include:
1. Ring-fenced funding for specialist BME ending VAWG organisations
2. A VAWG Bill which prioritises BME and migrant survivors
3. End data-sharing between the Home Office and public services (such as police and the NHS) to ensure safe pathways for support
4. Implement a statutory duty to adhere to the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED)
5. Restore legal aid and improve access to justice
6. Address the equality impact of Brexit
In a statement, Imkaan's Policy and Communications Coordinator Leah Cowan said:
"We urgently need systemic, lasting solutions to violence against women and girls. Currently, BME survivors face a postcode lottery of patchy and inconsistent support provision depending on where they live, and this is not good enough. Both party leaders have made public commitments to addressing gender-based violence, and organisations from across the sector have signed these open letters to urge Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson that we are expecting their rhetoric to be transformed into practical action.
50% of BME refuges have had their funding slashed in the past ten years, and we know that across the board public funding cuts have devastated our sector, forcing lifesaving services to close their doors. In conjunction with a hostile environment which has sought to make life in this country untenable for migrant communities, BME and migrant survivors are frequently forced to choose between remaining in a violent situation, or accessing a public service which might trigger immigration enforcement action to be taken against them and their families. This is unacceptable. Survivors have a right to access support and justice, and we look forward to hearing from their party leaders on their plans to address this genuine and deepening systemic inequality."
Notes to editors:
1. Imkaan is the only UK-based, second-tier women's organisation dedicated to addressing violence against Black and minoritised women and girls i.e. women which are defined in policy terms as Black and 'Minority Ethnic' (BME).
2. Download the letters to Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson here
3. The Alternative Bill, which was drafted in response to the draft Domestic Abuse Bill is available here: imkaan.org.uk/alternative-bill
For more information, contact:
Leah Cowan +44 7532 712 304