Thursday 31 January 2013

From female genital mutilation to media sexism: a UK gender and activism snapshot

This just in from the End Violence Against Women coalition.
  • 2013 – the year we make Schools Safe 4 Girls?
  • Ofsted to inspect schools on work to tackle Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
  • EVAW at the UN!
  • What is men’s role in stopping violence against women and girls?
  • Sexual offences statistics and Met’s Jimmy Savile report – joining the dots
  • Leveson Inquiry & media sexism
  • Troubled Families

2013 – the year we make Schools Safe 4 Girls?

With further arrests relating to the Savile investigation and disturbing cases in the news about sexual abuse of vulnerable girls by groups of older men, EVAW’s timely Schools Safe 4 Girls campaign is gaining momentum.

Our work was mentioned in a recent Parliamentary debate on the long-awaited Personal Social Health and Economic (PSHE) education review. Our call for all children to have access to proper Sex and Relationships (SRE) Education - which teaches young people about sexual consent, and respectful and non-abusive relationships - will be debated in a backbenchers’ debate on 14 February as part of the global #One Billion Rising day of dancing against violence against women (will there be dancing in Parliament?!). Make sure YOUR MP takes part in this important debate.

The importance of compulsory SRE was a key part of a recent speechon tackling the sexualisation of women and girls by Diane Abbott MP. Watch Abbott and the PM’s new advisor on sexualisation Claire Perry MP debate the issue on Channel 4 News. Read EVAW’s response to the Department for Education’s consultation on internet porn filters.

Ofsted to inspect schools on work to tackle Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) 

With 24,000 girls in England and Wales at risk of FGM each year, and primary school girls most at risk, we welcome Ofsted’s announcementthat it will include this in school inspections. Congratulations to our members who have campaigned for this. We believe Ofsted should also specifically include forced marriage, ‘honour’ based violence and all other forms of abuse that are targeted at girls in its inspections.

EVAW at the UN!
EVAW Co-Chair Marai Larasi is speaking about our Schools Safe 4 Girls campaign at the UN’s annual Commission on the Status of Women meeting (4-15 March) in New York which is focused on preventing violence against women and girls this year. We are also delighted to be participating in a live Wikigender online discussion about ‘Transforming social norms to prevent violence against women and girls’ which will then be presented at the event.

There will also be discussion about the proposal from the UN’s Special Rapporteur on VAWG, Rashida Manjoo, for a new UN treaty on ending VAWG . Watch this space for our expert members’ assessment of government action here to prevent abuse.

What is men’s role in stopping violence against women and girls?
EVAW Co-Chair Professor Liz Kelly will be discussing this critical issue on a panel alongside Jon Cruddas MP, Yvette Cooper MP, Colin Fitzgerald and Thangam Debbonaire at a Labour Policy Review event, supported by EVAW and Labour Women’s Network. Monday 4th March (4.30-6.00pm), Houses of Parliament, Committee Room 6. to attend.

Sexual offences statistics and Met’s Jimmy Savile report – joining the dots
Earlier this month the ONS published statistics on sexual offences from across the criminal justice system in one place for the first time, making for a compelling, if disturbing read. The very next day the Metropolitan Police and the NSPCC published their report on Jimmy Savile, revealing what they have found to date about the scale and nature of his abuse. EVAW responded to both of these observing that many abusers know there is virtual impunity for rape, and that until we start to tackle this comprehensively with young people in our schools, as well as adequatelysupporting survivors (including adult survivors of sexual abuse as a child), we will fail to address this problem. Our comments were reported in The Times and in Metro, Holly Dustin was interviewed on BBC Woman’s Hour alongside former solicitor general Vera Baird QC, and we were also featured in The Guardian.

Leveson Inquiry & media sexism
EVAW and our partners Eaves, Equality Now and Object are continuing to get our report on media sexism to all those involved in the debate on media reform and recently met with Jo Swinson to discuss tackling media sexism. We are also making a submission to a consultation newspaper editors are running on what revisions should be made to the Editors Code. Our recommendation that the new regime include a clear duty on the press to hear third party complaints is making headway and has even managed to cause annoyance in some quarters!

Troubled Families
EVAW co-Chair Liz Kelly met recently with Louise Casey, head of theTroubled Families Unit at the Department for Communities and Local Government, following a head to head debate on Woman’s Hour last year. Liz raised our concerns that the programme overlooked the fact that many women in ‘troubled families’ are survivors of abuse, and many men are abusers. She said that women’s and girls’ safety should be a key outcome when the work is evaluated.

  • If you would like to support EVAW's campaigning for a safer world for women and girls so that we can put pressure on government to take action you can make a donation
  • EVAW are very grateful for the support of all donors and funders, including Comic Relief, Trust for London and Amnesty International UK. 
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  • For more information about EVAW see