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Violence Against Women and Girls

SI Epsom and District have concentrated their efforts during the pandemic on  raising awareness about violence against women and girls.  This time in particular, has shown a sharp increase in domestic abuse and other types of abuse against women and girls in the UK and globally.  The Club’s use of Zoom as well as social media have both helped to raise awareness about three domestic abuse charities: True Honour, East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services  (ESDAS) and Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid (RBWA)

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been three virtual fundraising events- A Taste of Spice- Homemade Punjabi Cooking, From Stress to De-Stress– a virtual wellbeing session and The Big Heart Quiz. These were widely promoted on flyers and through social media which had links to the Club website. All funds raised were split between the three charities.

Speakers have attended Club meetings held on Zoom. Dr Clive Driscoll, Deputy Chair for True Honour, spoke about Modern Day Slavery and Michelle Blunsom MBE, ESDAS CEO, spoke about domestic abuse during lockdown and the services they provide for survivors and their families.

The 16 Days of Activism 25 Nov – 10 Dec 2020 was another opportunity to raise awareness through sharing posts that the three charities were sending out on social media as well as the daily Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) messages.  An  Orange the World Poster was designed containing information about the 16 Days and a Youtube video presentation  was produced, highlighting stories and case studies from survivors which reached a wide audience on social media.

Toys were donated to RBWA which were placed in their Play Therapy room in the Autumn   At Christmas, the Club donated presents to ESDAS through a  Secret Santa and responded to an urgent appeal from RBWA for self-care gifts for survivors living in refuges. Club members donated through an Amazon wish list.

The Club sent letters to MPs ( Sample letter to MP)and Ministers ( Sample letter to Minister ) requesting their support for the Domestic Abuse Bill to include the offence of non-fatal strangulation.  The Club  responded to the Region’s request of writing letters to Baronesses  with reference to amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill which was read in the House of Lords at the beginning of January. As a result of this, some Club members attended a UK Parliament workshop and several members have now formed an Advocacy Group which will continue to focus on domestic abuse issues as well as other matters arising that require letters to be written to MPs, Ministers and Peers.

In September 2021, the Club invited Lisa Townsend, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, to attend a special meeting where she outlined her involvement in combatting crimes of violence against women and girls. In the video at the top of the page, Lisa talks about the Domestic Abuse Bill and the letters written by Soroptimist Clubs to Baronesses in a campaign to highlight gaps in some amendments to the Bill. She talks about the work of Surrey police and their success in terms of supporting victims of domestic abuse through working closely in partnership with organisations such as  East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services and Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid.

In November 2021, the Club invited Anthea Sully, CEO White Ribbon UK , a male group dedicated to ending violence against women and girls.  The work of White Ribbon UK was promoted  during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.  You can read about this event and watch a short video clip on this link: # AllMenCan …make a difference and prevent violence against women and girls