SI Bournemouth and Bournemouth University held a thought-provoking, stimulating and highly successful conference on June 29th, 2023 focussing on issues relating to violence against women and girls. Two hundred delegates participated and listened to amazing presentations by True Honour (honour killing), Unity in Vision (female genital mutilation) and White Ribbon (men’s perspectives on VAWG) in addition to attending workshops. The key note session was an ‘in conversation’ one led by Kate Adie CBE (previous Chief News Correspondent at the BBC and the Chancellor of Bournemouth University) with Paula Harriott, Head of the Prison Reform Trust. Paula revealed that she had been in a coercive and chaotic marriage that led to her imprisonment for four years on drugs charges; it was a sobering discussion but one that has led her to have positive insights into how the prison system needs to be changed especially in relation to women. We hope she is able influence and implement some of her excellent ideas.
As the SIGBI ‘Special Domestic Abuse Court Report’ was launched three days previously, Dr Liz Dominey led workshops introducing participants to the key issues identified through the research; this highlighted the largely poor experience of women going through these courts. It was a timely opportunity to share the work that SI clubs around the UK have undertaken in observing trials and collecting data.
Overall the feedback from the day has been very positive. There was a multiplicity of organisations represented and the networking opportunity was excellent; the buzz throughout the day was impressive. We trust that the connections made will continue leading to positive change for women and girls experiencing violence.