Sisters For Change has conducted a range of VAWG projects in the UK, including investigating and documenting public authority responses to violence against Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BME) women at both a central and local level across England; delivering annual workshops to strengthen the legal capacity of frontline VAWG service providers; bringing together key actors from government, civil society and the criminal justice sector for roundtable discussions and dialogues on the Domestic Abuse Bill; and improving public authority responses to VAWG. In our research, we work closely with frontline VAWG service providers. Our reports and briefing notes offer concrete policy and legislative recommendations for improving responses to violence against women and girls.

Sisters For Change worked with five partner organisations – all specialist BME organisations in the ending violence against women sector – to research and document the way in which specialist services are commissioned and delivered in six local authority areas. The report presents a comprehensive evaluation of current practices of commissioning and funding of BME VAW service providers and a detailed legal analysis of the weaknesses and failing in public authority and criminal justice responses to BME victims of violence. It makes 16 concrete and practical experienced recommendations to improve State responses to violence against women and girls and ensure public authority compliance with legal obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998, Equality Act 2010 and child and adult safeguarding legislation.

Over the last 12 months, Sisters For Change, in partnership with The Manchester Maya Project, a consortium of specialist BME VAW service providers, has conducted extensive research to examine local authority approaches and responses to domestic abuse; commissioning and funding of domestic abuse services across Greater Manchester. Working directly with three specialist BME VAW support services – Saheli, Wai Yin and Ananna – we have documented the experiences of BME women victims of domestic abuse living in Manchester and the challenges they face in accessing statutory services and support in Manchester. We have reviewed a wide range of cases to assess how local authorities and welfare and health services in Manchester respond to BME women victims of domestic abuse. Our case evidence raises serious questions as to the compliance of local services with their homelessness, safeguarding, equality and human rights duties in relation to BME women victims of domestic abuse.

In publishing this report, Sisters For Change and The Manchester Maya Project partners seek in the short term to inform the development of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Violence Against Women and Girls strategy (due to be published later in 2019) and Manchester City Council’s current review of its approach to commissioning domestic abuse services and in the longer term to improve and strengthen responses to BME women victims of violence by local authorities and statutory agencies across Greater Manchester.

Sisters For Change has developed a series of six briefing notes looking at some of the most important issues to be addressed by the Domestic Abuse Bill. The briefing notes set out recommendations to Government to ensure an inclusive and effective Domestic Abuse Bill for all women.

Improving public authority responses to violence against BME women.

Improving public authority responses to high risk victims of domestic abuse.

Improving accountability in local government responses to domestic abuse & VAWG.

Oversight & accountability: Role & powers of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner.

Definition of domestic abuse.

UK compliance with the Istanbul Convention.

As part of the UK Government’s consultation and inquiry prior to the publication of the Domestic Abuse Bill, Sisters For Change submitted a consultation response to the Government and written evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on Domestic Abuse.

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