November 2016 Newsletter
- We would keep the VAWG umbrella with the emphasis on Prison Reform, trafficking/slavery and Domestic Abuse since there is much on which to advocate and lobby – see below;
- Gender Action Peace & Security (GAPS) put up its membership fee to £250/yr this year. We decided to pay and to evaluate the value of membership. Sadly, we have come to the decision that it is not value-for-money and will not be renewing our membership in 2017. Many thanks to Janet Hodgson for representing us so well on this group over many years.
We reviewed our budget, as usual for this time of year, and agreed the capitation fee/levy for next year. A letter explaining this has been sent to Regional Treasurers and Regional Programme Action Chairmen, together with the relevant spreadsheets. We are pleased that we will be able to keep it at £3/member.
If you have any questions or comments about these decisions please do let me know.
KimAnn Williamson, Chair of the UK Anti-slavery Training Delivery Group, came to tell us about developments across the UK and to offer us a seat on the National Network Coordinators Forum, which we were pleased to accept. The aim of the group is to have consistent training for multi-agency partners across the UK, building on the experience in Wales. This will enable all to pursue the strategy of Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare through training and awareness raising which can span from a ‘Lunch & Learn’ session of 30 minutes to a ‘First Responder course of 1 day and 3 days training for Senior Investigating Officers/Crown Prosecutors. Watch our web site for updates as they become available.
Lobbying opportunities in this area of work still apply to Advocates for children caught up in trafficking. The report by the University of Bedford is here . In addition Unicef has published a report (Achieving a Durable Solution for Trafficked Children) available here. Please use these resources to lobby for the changes needed.
Kevin Hyland’s annual report is here and his strategy for 2015-2017 lists his priorities for action. This includes supply chain transparency and combating labour exploitation.
As you know, I sit on the Prison Reform Trust’s ‘Transforming Lives Advisory Group’. One of the concerns coming through that grouping is the release of women to inadequate housing provision at release/discharge from prison. I have heard of women given a tent as they leave and sleeping bags with floor space in a hostel. The situation in Wales differs from that in England with a housing pathway developed by Integrated Offender Management Wales which uses a common form across all the local authorities. However, there is clearly much to be done if we are to make progress in this area. For reports on the situation from the Prison Reform Trust follow this link .
Scotland has its own approach to women in the Criminal Justice System and is developing community alternatives to custody. However, health service provision has not improved since the responsibility for health care was passed to the NHS. The Royal College of Nursing has published a review which is highly critical of the lack of provision of appropriate services and coordination across different needs. See here for more information.
Another cause for concern was raised by Juliet Lyon at our Study Day in July. Spoke about the difference between police triage of minor offenders in Wales and England. In Wales, where possible, minor offenders are diverted to alternative help before charges are made (link ). However, in England charges are made first and thus even very minor offenders are labeled, with repercussions leading to lost opportunities for avoiding re-offending and developing a better future. I understand that this pathway is working well and I hope to visit a local scheme in 2017.
During the last year we have contributed, on your behalf, to a number of reports/inquiries:
The British Council report on how the UK needs to react to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) introduced by the UN with the full report at this link.
Our submission is available on our website on the resources tag, along with other reports we have written on prostitution to the Home Affairs Committee whose report is at this link . The conclusion was that sex work should be decriminalised but not the purchasers or purveyors. There is evidence internationally that you need both plus support to women wishing to leave the ‘profession’. Now that the chairmanship has changed it would be opportune to lobby for this.
The Istanbul Convention on VAWG (Council of Europe, not the EU) has been signed but not ratified by the UK Government. There is a Private Members Bill, second reading, in Parliament on 16th December. The EU has just agreed to ratify it. Please ask your MP to attend and support its ratification. Appropriate information is available at this link and here and here
A response was made about the UK report on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights via the National Association of Womens’ Organisations and is on the resources page of our website.
Thank you to all who contributed to these documents – often at very short notice.
Please do ensure that you report your PA work on the SIGBI database. Without these reports it is impossible for your representatives to report, and validate, to regions, the UKPAC, or SIGBI and thus support our continued consultative status at the UN.
Lastly, and by no means least, we are looking to appoint a Treasurer and Secretary. Information, job descriptions (Secretary) (Treasurer) and application forms (Secretary) (Treasurer) are available, with a closing date of 31st March 2017. The intention is for the successful candidates to shadow the current post-holders prior to taking office in November 2017.The intention is for the successful candidates to shadow the current post-holders prior to taking office in November 2017. I hope this newsletter has helped to encourage you to apply to join us to take our work forward.