16 Days of Activism: H&F set to improve women’s safety and end gender-based violence

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is determined that our borough is a safe place for everybody.

To improve the safety of women across the borough and help prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG), we held a virtual resident event on coercive control as part of our 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

“Women should not have to feel unsafe when travelling, working or going out at night,” says Cllr Sue Fennimore, Deputy Leader of H&F Council.

“We’re committed to ending all forms of violence against women and girls by raising awareness about gender-based violence and by sharing how people who are victims of it can be best supported.”

16 Days of Activism event on coercive control

Running from Thursday 25 November to Friday 10 December, the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls.

To spread awareness that domestic abuse can happen to anyone, we held a virtual resident event on Coercive Control and the ties that bind us in relationships with survivor and former Met Police Borough Commander Sally Benatar on Thursday 9 December from 7pm to 8.30pm.

Coercive control includes threats, intimidation humiliation and other abusive behaviours that are used to control someone else. It is domestic abuse, and it is a crime.

Sally talked about the coercive and controlling behaviour she faced in her marriage, its impact, and how hard it can be for survivors to ask for help. Local services supporting survivors in the borough joined Sally for a Q&A.

Domestic abuse is everyone’s business, so this event was held specifically for residents who may be worried about someone’s behaviour towards someone else.

Safety of Women at Night Fund

As part of our efforts to prevent violence against women and girls, we’ve also recently secured a significant amount of funding from the Home Office’s Safety of Women at Night Fund.

The grant will be used to help put an end to all forms of gender-based violence and to help local women and girls feel safe again in public spaces at night.

To do so, we are planning a number of initiatives, including:

  • launching a new VAWG strategy
  • starting a programme for young women to become leaders of change in their community
  • creating women’s safety champions in the business community
  • providing additional support to women involved in homelessness
  • offering new training to create women’s safety champions in our new and unique Law Enforcement Team
  • conducting a women’s safety audit to learn where the real problems lie and provide solutions.

This will complement our other efforts to improve women’s safety in the borough.

Help and support in H&F

Violence against women and girls can take any shape or form, whether domestic abuse, workplace discrimination or street harassment.

If you are experiencing abuse, you are not alone. Or if you suspect someone is being abused, confidential help is available. H&F Council is working with The Angelou Partnership to help residents suffering from violence.

For further advice, support and information on domestic violence, visit our dedicated page here.

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