Over the last couple of weeks, people have opened up on social media about their experiences of harassment and assault. For many, this has been both comforting and traumatic. Research has highlighted that 97% of women in the UK aged 18 to 24 have been sexually harassed. A woman is killed every three days by a man. After Sarah Everard died, the government has pledged to listen to inform their decisions going forward. So, here’s how to contribute evidence to to the government consultation about violence against women. The government website states that anyone aged 16 or over is welcome to share their experiences.
A call for evidence regarding Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) was opened on Dec. 10 and ran until Feb. 19. It’s a survey that questions people about their experience of harassment and violence. In light of Sarah Everard’s death, the survey reopened on March 12.
The government website states that they’d love to hear from anyone but particularly people who “may feel underrepresented in previous strategies or who feel their circumstances were not supported by existing services.” They are also calling for guidance from “those with expertise in working with victims and survivors, those involved in preventive activity, and those involved in providing services.” This is all to help inform the new Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy which is due to be released later this year.
How to contribute
If you’d like to share your experience with the government and have your say, you can fill out the survey on the gov.uk website. You have until March 26 to complete it. The survey is available in Easy Read format and British Sign Language and you can send your response to VAWGStrategy2021@homeoffice.gov.uk.
Feminist advocacy group, Level Up has adapted the form to make it much more survivor-friendly. Refinery29 highlighted that, “if we are serious about ending violence against women, we need to provide survivors with specialist support, safe housing and therapy – and we need to tackle the root causes of violence through education on consent and healthy relationships in schools.”
What is the Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy
The government says that responses will help to inform the new Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy which was first introduced in 2010 and supports victims of abuse.
According to The Week, the update will seek to tackle crimes such as rape, stalking, and female genital mutilation. This comes as the women and Equalities Committee has pledged to look at cultures underpinning male violence against women.
Committee Chair Caroline Nokes MP said, “This is a distressing time for everyone – both women and men – who believe that women and girls have the right to live their lives in freedom and without the threat or reality of violence. The Government has made long-standing commitments to take all measures to eliminate violence against women and girls and we will be asking how they are doing this.”