On 12th March, the Government reopened the survey on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) to collect views that will directly inform the development of their strategy - which officially includes male victims of crimes such as domestic abuse.
The survey on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), which aims to hear directly from victims and survivors, had previously closed in February after being open for ten weeks. However, the swell of outrage sparked by the killing of Sarah Everard prompted ministers to reopen the call for evidence until 26th March 2021.
Irrespetive of the name, all male victims, including victims of stalking and sexual violence, are classed as being victims of 'Violence Against Women and Girls'. It covers all forms domestic abuse including economic and financial abuse as well as coercive and controlling behaviour.
You won't be surprised that we have deep concerns that the strategy diminishes the focus and need to support men and boys. It results in inadequate resources to support men who are victims and their children e.g. through a lack of refuges for men and their children. It also risks creating a culture of systemic bias rather than ensuring that support is available for anyone who needs it by discouraging men from reporting their abuse.
FNF are under no illusion that there are many people who have experienced terrible abuse. Victims and their children deserve the full protection of the law. They also deserve support. Our experience is in dealing with conflict, domestic abuse and post-separation abuse, specifically in the circumstances of separating families. We support the vision of this strategy as stated in the accompanying information i.e. a 'vision is for a society in which people can live without fear of abuse or violence'.
Here you can download our VAWG Call for Evidence Response. You can also see a recent FNF Statement on Domestic Abuse Bill that was issues to the media. It would be nice to think that our input, that of our members and service users and other organisations will influence policies and begin the process of healing and uniting people, but that requires as wide a range or responses as possible.
ACTION - What you can do
- Regardless of your sex or gender, if you are aged 16 or over, make your voice heard and explain your experiences, the effect they had on you and how they made you feel. You can do this by filling in the survey here (closing date 26th March at 11:45pm). It takes approximately 15 minutes and all responses will be anonymous. You do not have to have experienced violence or abuse to take part and share your views.
- The issues identified also need to be recognised and addressed. Please contact your MPs to urge them to acknowledge the issues raised, using your own examples and explaining how it made you feel. If you don't know who your MP is, you can find out by visiting the following link. Here is an example of a clear and effective letter to an MP. If you wish, feel free to share with us privately the letter you send along with reply you receive to email@example.com with 'VAWG' in the subject header.
What do you think?
Send us feedback!