EVAW launches new briefing on women's & girls' rights to specialist support services

6 Oct 2015

The End Violence Against Women (EVAW) Coalition has published a new Briefing Paper on the rights of women and girls to specialist support when they have suffered or are at risk of abuse, and has written to the Communities Secretary Greg Clark MP calling on the UK Government to act to make these rights a reality.

The Briefing Paper summarises existing and new rights to access a specialist support service when suffering domestic violence or rape, when at risk of forced marriage or female genital mutilation (FGM), when trafficked or subject to abuse related to prostitution, and all other forms of gender-based violence.

Women and girls across the UK currently face a ‘postcode lottery’ when trying to access community-based specialist women’s services due to funding cuts and competitive tendering. 

The Briefing Paper, ‘Survivors’ Rights’, cites two imminent and very significant new legal obligations on the UK: the EU Victims Directive (Directive 2012/29/EU) which will come into force in the UK in November 2015 and the Istanbul Convention (the ‘European Convention on Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence’) which the UK has signed and is committed to ratifying soon. Both of these clearly identify the right to receive specialist support, and both require states to report on meeting this obligation.

The EVAW Coalition is calling on the Westminster and devolved Governments across the UK to make these rights clear and easy to access by legislating to make the requirement to provide specialist support services statutory; urgently re-examining competitive tendering processes, and poor understanding of equality obligations and women’s needs, among those who actually commission local services; instruct those who commission services to use high quality standards.

Download the briefing here.

Find more information on the EVAW website here.