We support the United Nations in their effort towards ending violence and abuse aimed at women and girls. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 advocates for Gender Equality and that ‘Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today.’ https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/ending-violence-against-women-and-girls/
Our involvement in advocating against violence towards women and girls has spanned many years. Here are some examples of the work we have undertaken within the last few years.
During the pandemic, in particular, there was 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, helped to raise awareness about three domestic abuse charities: True Honour, East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services (ESDAS) and I Choose Freedom
In 2020, virtual fundraising events were held : 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 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 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 I Choose Freedom (ICF) 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 ICF 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 2021. As a result of this, some Club members attended a UK Parliament workshop and several members formed an Advocacy Group which focused 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 combating crimes of violence against women and girls. In the video at the top of the page, Lisa talked 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 talked 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 I Choose Freedom.
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
From April to August 2022, two Club members took part in a national Soroptimist project involving observations of Special Domestic Abuse Courts (SDAC). Before the observations, members were required to undertake 3 hours of training. 3 days of observations took place and 5 cases were observed. All observations were held at Guildford Magistrates Court. Some of the charges included: stalking, harassment and voyeurism. It was possible to talk to some professionals about their roles in court, for example an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) as well as one or two court officials such as the lawyer from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). After the observations, members were required to complete observation forms detailing the proceedings and the support given to victims either in or out of court. The findings are to be compiled into a report with recommendations and is expected to be published in Spring 2023.
In November 2022, some Club members attended the Pearl Project Awards in support of several women who had undergone violence and abuse. Sarbjit Athwal, an honorary Club member, was amongst those women being presented with an award. Pearl Project Awards 2022
In November 2022, we invited an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) to speak to us about her role in the courts. IDVA Role -supporting domestic abuse clients
If you are interested in supporting us against violence and abuse towards women and girls, please contact email@example.com