Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy Response
At SafeLives, we believe the framework outlined in our Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy Response sets out the comprehensive and enduring, whole-picture approach which needs to be in place in order to end domestic abuse for good. It is a model which ensures the response to domestic abuse, and to other forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG), stretches across society, communities, and the entire family to, ultimately, see and appropriately respond to the whole person.
In this response, we have looked at a range of groups with certain protected characteristics, and the particular needs of some victims and survivors, and perpetrators. We have done so to recognise the variety of barriers which might stand in the way of somebody disclosing their experience of or use of abusive behaviours and their ability to seek and access support. However, as we have made clear in the response, no one is just one element of their identity at any one time, and individuals may be a member of several different groups and communities based on their background, experiences, or identity. This is why we must see the whole person, and provide joined-up, multi-agency responses, instead of addressing an individual as a series of disparate issues.
Throughout the response, our answers have centred on the experiences and voices of those who have experienced or used domestic abuse, and the practitioners and agencies who respond to their needs. Domestic abuse is a point on the VAWG continuum and does not occur within a vacuum: perpetrators of domestic abuse are likely to use other harmful behaviours which disproportionately impact women and girls. Similarly, many survivors of domestic abuse have also experienced other forms of VAWG and will experience VAWG through the lens of their experiences of domestic abuse. We strongly believe there is no ‘them and us’ with regards to VAWG and to domestic abuse. It effects our whole society and every community, and it is crucial that the response responds to it in such a way.