Domestic abuse was identified as a target for action early on in the 73 year-history of Cambridge Soroptimists. Action has largely been practical. Raising funds to support the existence of a safe refuge for women in the City and help to rebuild their lives after years of physical harm and more recently recognised, coercive behaviour.
The club’s support was recognised three years ago when two members were invited to join Cambridge City Council’s initiative in setting up a regular Forum for professional organisations dealing with Domestic Abuse to exchange views, information and find ways to widen support for women.
This helps to inform our activities in lobbying decision-making bodies of all kinds. Soroptimist International pressed the Government for more inclusive teaching of sex education in schools and our “Love Me, Loves Me Not” bookmarks were circulated widely in our local schools.
In its 2019-20 Annual Report, the Cambridge and Peterborough Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership says more than 14,000 incidents were reported – up by 25% – and that’s not taking all the COVID-19 lockdown period into account. Refuges across this county housed 89 women and 129 children and 1077 people were helped by outreach services.
Cambridge Soroptimists have previously lobbied Police and Crime Commissioners to put more money into these services and will again be pressing for support from the candidates standing in next May’s elections.
On 3rd August 2020 SafeLives, a UK-based charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, launched their #ReachIn campaign, encouraging people to act if they’re concerned someone they know is experiencing domestic abuse. For further information about the campaign click here.