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‘Anyway, Listening Isn’t Enough’ – AAFDA Annual Conference 2023

‘Anyway, Listening Isn’t Enough’

That was the theme of this year’s AAFDA (Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse)  Conference, held in Swindon this week, and hosted by Frank Mullane, CEO of AAFDA. The charity AAFDA provides specialised support for families and friends after the homicide, suicide or unexplained death of their family member or friend, following domestic abuse.

Over two days, we heard heartrending stories from families such as Natasha and Rupert, who had everyone in the room in tears. The number of #KilledWomen is staggering — figures still show that a woman is killed by a man every 3 days in the UK! Killed Women, a campaign group and network of bereaved families, are fighting to change this.


Well done to Frank and all the AAFDA team for all your dedicated work; it is horrifying that neither the current Government nor its predecessors have listened and acted on male violence against women. We earnestly hope this Government will respond to the pressure from women like Jess Phillips, MP for Birmingham Yardley and Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding, who was a conference speaker, and from Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales, who chaired the conference.

This poignant reminder really brought home the number of women killed: Domestic, an installation by artist Wilma Woolf, which was displayed at the AAFDA conference by Rupert Waterhouse.

The 2020 plate from Wilma Woolf’s exhibit, which memorialises the women killed by men from 2013 to 2020
Wilma created 8 plates on which she lists the names of all women killed by men in the last 8 years — one plate per year —  and dreadfully, the relationship those men had to their victims, even including sons. It was first shown in 2021, to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

See the image below for a guide to the icons. You can find out more about this work, and see some of the other plates, at Wilma Woolf’s website.

Domestic Domestic is an Installation documenting all the women that have been killed in the UK at the hands of male violence since 2013. Eight individual plates are placed on a table, representing eight years of data. On each plate is the year, the woman’s name, her relationship to the person that killed her or her children, and how that woman died. Specifically designed icons create a visual language to communicate the precise cause of death. The plates are laid on an obsidian black glass table. The glass is so dark that it acts as a mirror to the viewer peering over the table to the plates laid out. It is to reflect that domestic violence is both ageless and classless and can and does affect everyone. ​ The aim of this piece of work is dualistic. It is to remember the women who have needlessley lost their lives and also, to highlight the institutionalised and systemic acceptance of this human rights abuse often regarded as an inevitable part of men and women co-existing. This piece of work allows us all to visualise and understand this crime as one continuous crime, not a series of inevitable, unstoppable incidents. There are a plethora of policy responses that could be enacted to help combat this crime. Funding for mental health support, sustained funding for safe houses, improved responses from police and associated agencies to protect women when they report this crime are a handful of examples. The Femicide census, published in 2020 stated: "there is little suggestion that any intervention over the past ten years has had a significant impact or even any impact at all on the number of women being killed by men." This is an unacceptable failure when we consider the devastating impact this violence has, compounded by the fact that we do know, through research, what policies can help combat and prevent this crime.
A viewer’s Guide to ‘Domestic’.