Working to Fight Violence Against Women and Girls with Isabel Chapman and Sandra Onai
This week, Hannah chats to Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Advocates Isabel Chapman and Sandra Onai about how to ensure that the voices of victims are heard within an under-funded system. Isabel and Sandra dispel the myths around domestic abuse, and discuss the barriers that prevent people from accessing support, as well as the importance of including healthy relationships as part of sex education. They talk about the different types of abuse, and what the new law around domestic abuse actually means. Finally, they discuss with Hannah the importance of making sex education accessible.
What we chat about…
How we often view the UK as a progressive society but, on average, two women every week die at the hands of their current or former partner
Isabelle and Sandra’s work as advocates, and how they support victims through the different services they engage with, and make sure their voices are heard
What the role of an advocate is, including keeping the process being about what the victim wants
How there can sometimes be a conflict between organisations about what is best from the victim, with researcher Marianne Hester’s Three Planets model outlining these different spheres that the victim interacts with
Myths around domestic abuse, including that it’s not a gendered issue
The importance of early intervention and prevention, which includes making healthy relationships part of education in schools
Art Against Knives and the In Our Hands training programme
The importance of giving victims a space where they won’t feel re-traumatised in talking about their experience, and also giving them the time to create a relationship with an advocate
Barriers to people accessing support, and the need for more funding and sharing responsibility beyond it being purely on advocates
Impact of tech on relationships
What the new law around domestic abuse means
Financial abuse and the impact of universal credit
The Level Up organisation and how domestic abuse is reported in the press: ‘Loving father is overwhelmed’
The pressure we put on victims to be responsible for what happens around abuse, when we need this responsibility to also be on perpetrators
Isabelle and Sandra’s work with perpetrators to give them strategies to deal with situations and unpick the ‘red mist’
Perpetrators not looking how we expect them to - they can be charming, intelligent and manipulative
Making sex education accessible, by understanding the same sex ed can’t be applied to everyone in a copy and paste way - we need to meet people where they are at and understand the ways different communities work and support them in making safe choices
The importance of curiosity and learning from each other
Where to go if you are a victim of domestic abuse (links below), but in an emergency, always call 999.
Art Against Knives, In Our Hands Training Programme, which supports young women in overcoming barriers to employment by both up-skilling them with a qualification in Nail Technology and also receiving support from a Young Persons Violence Advisor. Read more: https://www.artagainstknives.com/inourhands
Marianne Hester’s Three Planets outlines the different spheres that the victim has to interact with: The domestic violence planet, the child protection planet, and the child contact planet. Read more: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2009/6703.html
A Domestic Abuse Bill was introduced in January 2019, which is the first ever statutory government definition of domestic abuse to specifically include economic abuse and controlling and manipulative non-physical abuse. Read more: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-publishes-landmark-domestic-abuse-bill
Level Up are campaigning to change the way domestic violence deaths are reported in the press. Find out more: https://www.welevelup.org/ourstory
National Centre for Domestic Violence helps survivors of domestic violence and abuse obtain protection against an abuser, as well as offering services to the police, probation service, domestic abuse agency workers, the legal profession and judiciary.
To make a referral:
All other contact details: https://www.ncdv.org.uk/contact/
National Domestic Abuse Helpline is a 24 hour free phone: 0808 2000 247
Rights of Women is an organisation working to ensure women are protected by law. Find out more about their work: https://rightsofwomen.org.uk/
Each borough in London has a domestic abuse service you can self-refer to or be referred to (e.g. by your GP, friend, police). To find contact details for your council go to www.(name of borough).gov.uk e.g. www.barnet.gov.uk/ or www.hackney.gov.uk
Childline is a counselling service for children and young people. Ring: 0800 1111 Other ways to contact them: https://www.childline.org.uk/get-support/contacting-childline/
MORE ABOUT ISABEL CHAPMAN
Isabel Chapman is Communications, Inclusion and Diversity Specialist. She is a qualified Young People's Violence Advisor & an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor. Having spent the last 10 years working in a variety of settings including the Criminal Justice System, Housing, Grassroots Organisations, Violence Against Women + Girls and Tech, she is experienced in engaging hard to reach communities. Isabel is an established public speaker, including chairing debates in parliament and speaking on the ‘Women in Tech’ panel at the Parliamentary Internet Conference. Isabel also gave a TEDxClapham talk on sexual assault in 2015.
Find out more about Isabelle on her Twitter.
MORE ABOUT SANDRA ONAI
Sandra Onai is a Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Specialist with experience working in the Violence Against Women and Girls sector for over five years. She is an experienced practitioner in domestic abuse, sexual violence, forced marriages, so called "honor" based violence and safeguarding.