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Summit Meeting at BU to Change Culture of Violence Against Women and Girls

During the week of International Women’s Day 2024, a group of Dorset-based organisations that campaign for women’s equality called leaders and other interested parties to a Summit Meeting to discuss how they can work together to change the culture of gender-based violence in Dorset. Dorset is reportedly the 6th safest place to live in the UK but 82% of sexual assault crime in Dorset is against women and trans-women and people who are non-binary or gender fluid are experiencing rising hate crime. Soroptimist International Bournemouth, Dorset Women CIC and the charity Acts Fast have joined forces with Dorset Police and academics at Bournemouth University to start to find solutions. A Summit Meeting was held on Wednesday 6th March to challenge local leaders and decision makers to work harder together to create a change in culture.

The Police and Crime Commissioner, David Sidwick, Lead for VAWG in Dorset Police, Emma Sweetzer, and researcher Dr Kari Davies spoke to the group about the current position and support available, the need for a solid evidence base and Marianne Storey from Dorset Women CIC challenged the room to make themselves redundant as a result of making VAWG a thing of the past in the county. Fifty-five participants fully endorsed the need to collaborate and challenge the status quo; the key take home message was let’s ‘Make Dorset Safer’. Everyone signed up to be an ongoing part of the solution and to continue to work together.

Professor Gail Thomas, secretary of SIB said “We are encouraged that the work started at the conference we held at BU in June 2023, attracting more than 200 interested parties, is being taken forward constructively. Culture change will only happen if we collaborate and we want to be catalysts for actively creating solutions for Dorset.”

If you are interested in this and would like to come along to a Soroptimist International Bournemouth meeting to find out more, please email us at