UK: New report reveals government failure to join up work on violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights - government scores just 2 out of 10 overall

The End Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights Campaign (1) today (23 November) publishes a damning new report revealing that one year after the first independent assessment of government efforts to join up work on violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the UK, there is still a failure to ensure that Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are safe (2).

With high levels of violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the UK (3), the EVAW Campaign’s report has awarded the Government an overall score of just two out of ten (4), a small improvement on last year’s score of one out of ten.

Following the publication of last year’s assessment, Tony Blair responded by predicting that a fresh assessment in a year’s time would show “considerable and sustained improvements”. Whilst some departments, particularly the Crown Prosecution Service and the Home Office, score well, the new report finds little progress overall and the good work being done in some areas, is being undermined by the lack of a strategy. There is a continuing lack of cross-department working, inadequate resources and a lack of measurable targets. These failures continue despite the enormous costs to government and society (5).

The report is calling for the Department for Communities and Local Government to lead the development of a cross-government strategy on violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. The Department, which leads the Government’s work on equality and social justice, scored just two out of ten in this year’s report.

Violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights includes domestic violence, forced marriage, crimes in the name of honour, rape and sexual assault, trafficking, female genital mutilation, sexual harassment and stalking. Key findings of the report are:

  • Across government departments work on violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights is “patchy” and not joined up. There is little evidence of work between government departments resulting in a failure to share vital information
  • Many parts of government still perceive violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights as limited to domestic violence, resulting in a failure to develop policies and provide resources for other forms of violence, including rape and sexual assault, forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM)
  • Services for victims are seriously under-funded and there is a post-code lottery facing Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights who need support. The sector is increasingly fragile, for example in 1984 there were 68 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights-only rape crisis centres or helplines compared with 32 in England and Wales today (6); FGM services are facing a major funding crisis
  • No part of government has yet begun to address seriously the prevention of violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, for example there is minimal work with Children's rights and young people to challenge attitudes that tolerate violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.

The report concludes that the failure to adopt a strategic approach across government accounts for this dismal picture. This lack of joined up policy also means that connections are not being made with other existing high-profile government strategies, including those on social exclusion, drugs and alcohol, child poverty, anti-social behaviour and teen pregnancy.

End Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights Campaign Chair, Professor Liz Kelly, said:

“Every day in the first week of November the media carried reports of different cases where Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls had either been killed or had committed suicide as a result of male violence. This bleak picture is hardly surprising considering the Government’s failure to develop a more strategic approach to ending violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.

“Too many obstacles stand in the way of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights needing support. There are many Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights who are living with the legacies of abuse and cannot get help following a sexual assault because there are no services in their area. Others trying to flee threats to kill them cannot get a place in a refuge because of their immigration status. Young people are still denied a curriculum within their school that encourages respectful relationships and, at secondary level, explores the meaning of sexual consent.”

The report does acknowledge that good work is being carried out, for example in the Crown Prosecution Service and the Home Office. However, many departments are still failing to grasp the key issues and take action and the opportunity to join work up is being missed. In the week that a poll showed that 42% of young people know girls whose boyfriends have hit them, the score of one out of ten for the Department for Education and Skills is particularly concerning as it has a key role to play in providing information and options for young people. Yet Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) guidelines do not include violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and there is no systematic training for teachers on how to recognise the signs of violence.

Professor Liz Kelly added:

“Some major moves to tackle violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights – such as reform of the sex offences law and funding the Poppy Project for trafficked Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights - have been key Government achievements.

“But fundamentally the approach remains one of mopping up the problem once it has occurred, rather than working to ensure that Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights no longer experience violence. How many more Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights need to die before we see a more strategic approach?”

The End Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights Campaign will continue to make an annual assessment of the Government’s work to end all forms of violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, and hopes to see a radical improvement across the board in time for next year’s report.

A full briefing is available on the performance of every UK government department on work to Women's rights's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.

Notes to editors:

  1. The End Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights Campaign (EVAW) is an unprecedented coalition of more than 50 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s and other organisations launched in November 2005 to campaign for an integrated strategy to end all forms of violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. Its members include Amnesty International UK, Agency for Change and Cultural Management (ACCM), Cardiff Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Safety Unit, Central Scotland Racial Equality Council Ltd, Centre for Safety and Well-Being (SWELL) University of Warwick, the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit, Eaves Housing for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights , Eaves Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid, EVA Project Scotland, the Fawcett Society, FORWARD, HALT Domestic Violence, the Havens, Imkaan, Jewish Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid, Lillith Project, the London Centre for Personal Safety, London Feminist Network, National Board of Catholic Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, National Federation of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Institutes, Northern Ireland Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid, POPPY Project, Rape Crisis Belfast, Refuge, Refugee Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Resource Project at Asylum Aid, Respect, Scottish Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid, Southall Black Sisters, School for Policy Studies University of Bristol, South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre, TUC, UK Disability Forum for European Affairs Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Committee, UK Joint Committee on Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights Research Group (Bristol University), Wales Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s National Coalition, Welsh Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid, WOMANKIND Worldwide, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid Federation England, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Design Service, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s National Commission, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Network of the Methodist Church and the Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Resource Centre.
  2. The new report, ‘Making the Grade? The second annual independent analysis of Government initiatives on violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’ follows last November’s first report by EVAW, ‘Making the Grade: An independent analysis of Government violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights initiatives’. It is an assessment of what every UK government department reports it is doing to address violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in all its forms. Departmental scores are as follows; Cabinet Office 1.75/10, Crown Prosecution Service 6.75/10, Department for Communities and Local Government 2/10, Department for Constitutional Affairs 5/10, Department for Culture Media and Sport 0.75/10, Department for Education and Skills 1/10, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 0.75/10, Department of Health 4/10, Department for International Development 2.75/10, Department of Trade and Industry 1.5/10, Department for Transport 0.25/10, Department for Work and Pensions 0.25/10, Foreign and Commonwealth Office 2.5/10, Her Majesty’s Treasury 1.25/10, Home Office 6/10, Ministry of Defence 1.25/10, Northern Ireland Government 1/10.
  3. Almost half of adult Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in England and Wales have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking (Walby & Allen, Findings from the British Crime Survey, 2004). One in four Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in England and Wales experience at least one incident of domestic violence during their lives, a crime which has the highest rate of repeat victimisation of all crimes (Walby & Allen, 2004). The reporting rate for rape continues to rise, whilst the conviction rate, at just 5.3%, is now at the lowest level for 30 years for England and Wales (Home Office Statistics) and amongst the lowest across Europe (Regan and Kelly, 2003). Approximately 85% of forced marriage cases dealt with by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office involve female victims (FCO consultation on forced marriage, 2005). It is estimated that 74,000 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the UK have undergone female genital mutilation and 7,000 girls under the age of 16 are at risk (FORWARD cited in House of Commons Research paper, March 2003).
  4. When each government department was scored across all areas of its work the average score across central government was 2.28 out of 10. This is an increase on last year’s score of 1 out 10. This year the highest departmental score was that of the Crown Prosecution Service (6.75) and the lowest were the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Transport (both 0.25).
  5. Government research puts the cost of domestic violence alone in one year in England and Wales at £23bn (Walby, 2004)
  6. Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Resource Centre, Crisis in Rape Crisis, October 2006
  7. The Criminal Prosecution Service, which achieved the highest score of all departments this year (6.75), has developed a cross-cutting structure through which it is able to measure the effectiveness of its work on violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights; it has identifiable budget lines and leads on addressing several of forms of violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights

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