Become a Women’s Aid Campaign Champion
Women’s Aid Campaign Champions support our national campaigns on a local level, give survivors of domestic violence a voice and help to ensure that politicians and other key decision makers are listening.
“Campaigning has empowered me. Knowing that my voice is heard in the political sphere when I have spoken at Parliamentary events and at an APPG meeting, it’s important for me to know that my experiences will help other survivors and shape future legislation and service provision.”
– Survivor and Women’s Aid campaigner
How does it work?
Every campaign we run has actions for our Campaign Champions. Depending on how much time you have to give you might sign a petition, send a tweet, write to your MP, set up a local meeting or event to raise awareness, secure local media coverage or attend and support national events. We send you all the information, resources and materials that you might need – just click below to go to our signup form.Become a Campaign Champion
Campaigning Action: Write to your MP
Domestic Abuse Bill
Last month, we shared that the domestic abuse bill had finally begun its official journey through parliament with its ‘first reading’ in the House of Commons. We expect ‘second reading’ to take place in the autumn, which is when the bill is debated by MPs and they will be able to amend (propose changes to) and vote on the legislation. It is therefore a key time to tell your MP what’s missing from the bill, and the changes we need to see.
Campaigning Action: Sign London Black Women’s Project’s petition asking Newham Council to reverse their decision to stop funding their refuges
One of our life-saving member services, London Black Women’s Project has been supporting black and minoritised women and their children affected by violence against women and girls in London for over 32 years. In June they received the news that they had lost local authority funding for their refuge accommodation in Newham. Help us stand in solidarity with London Black Women’s Project in their campaign to reverse this damaging decision:
Campaigning Action: Calling all lawyers – put your weight behind the call for a full independent inquiry into the family courts
We welcomed the government’s proposed review into the family court response to domestic abuse last month and the recent announcement of the panel members. We will keep Campaign Champions updated with news on the review and how you can ensure your voice is heard. But we remain concerned that the three month period is not long enough for such a complex area – we need a comprehensive, independently chaired inquiry. Our friends at Rights of Women are reaching out to family and human rights lawyers to join them in calling for the review into the family courts to go further – and deliver a full independent inquiry.
Campaigning Action: Spread the Word – Opportunities to become an Ask Me Community Ambassador
Communities are often the first to know about domestic abuse. But lack of understanding and confidence can make people afraid to talk about it. Our Ask Me projects are creating teams of Community Ambassadors to raise awareness of domestic abuse and create safe environments so that survivors feel able to speak out.
Ask Me projects are now being rolled all over the country – find out if the project is in your local area by looking at the list at the end of this email. You can contact the local coordinator to sign up to become a Community Ambassador, or to help spread the word about this exciting project!
Campaigning action: write to your MP
Lou Haigh is the MP for Sammy Woodhouse, a victim who testified against her rapist in a trial that helped expose the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal. Years later, Sammy was horrified when Rotherham Council actively encouraged the perpetrator to apply to the court for “contact” with her son who had been conceived from that rape. This case shines a light on the shocking consequences of the ‘pro-contact’ approach in the family courts, which will be all too familiar to many survivors and campaign champions.
Lou Haigh MP’s bill, which is supported by MPs from all political parties, would remove the parental rights of fathers who have conceived a child through rape and deliver an independent inquiry into the family court response to domestic abuse and violence against women. But this bill will struggle to make progress into law unless lots more MPs support it. Please help us to take action by asking your MP to support Lou’s bill:
#BillforSurvivors – Write to your MP
The government has committed to deliver a landmark domestic abuse bill, to transform the response to this devastating crime.
Women’s Aid has spoken to survivors and services that support them, and we have brought their voices together to create a bill that works for survivors. Tell your MP to support our #BillForSurvivors with our template letter. You can find out how to contact your MP here.
SOS – We need your help to save refuges in West Sussex
On 27 September 2017 West Sussex county council will vote on proposals to remove all funding for the refuges run by Safe in Sussex – a Women’s Aid member service that have provided safety and shelter for women and children escaping abuse for over forty years.
Two thirds of women escape to a refuge from outside their local area. So this decision is not only a threat to women and children in West Sussex, but many more across the south east and country who need to escape across local authority boundaries to stay safe.
Please help us send an SOS signal to the council and MPs in West Sussex and the wider south east region to save refuges, save lives.
Imagine a policy withholding desperately needed financial support and that could prevent a woman and her children leaving an abusive partner.
As absurd as it sounds, this is the reality faced by women every day as a result of the two child tax credit policy.
Learn more about our latest campaign with Rape Crisis and support our crowdfunding appeal today. Together we can help eliminate the impact of this policy on survivors of abuse.Crowdjustice Appeal
Is it #TimesUp for the Family Courts?
Women’s Aid partnered with Queen Mary University of London to launch a new report on the experiences of survivors of domestic abuse in the family courts on 30th May 2018. Our research finds that poor understanding, awareness and responses to domestic abuse within the family justice system are putting the safety of survivors and their children at risk. We are calling on the government to start an independent inquiry into the handling of domestic abuse by the family courts, and to implement a number of urgent changes now to make the family courts safer.
Join us by writing to your MP about this important new report:
Save Refuges, Save Lives
The future of refuges is once again under threat. Join Women’s Aid to save refuges, save lives.
The government is proposing a major change to how refuges are funded from 2020. Our survey of refuge services has shown the proposed new model of funding would force over half of refuges responding to close or reduce their provision – resulting in 4000 more women and children turned away from the lifesaving services they desperately need.
These proposals threaten to dismantle our life-saving national network of refuges and put women and children trying to escape domestic abuse at risk.
Exciting update from our #ChildFirst campaign!
After 18 months of campaigning to improve safety for women and children survivors in the family courts, new guidance for judges making child contact decisions in domestic abuse cases came into force on 2 October 2017.
Women’s Aid – together with survivors, campaigners and experts – have worked closely on these new changes to Practice Direction 12J. Critically, there are now mandatory requirements for all judges and magistrates to follow when making contact orders for children at risk of harm from an abusive parent. Judges must state why contact in domestic abuse cases is safe, and family courts need to ensure that special protection measures are available.
The revised Practice Direction 12J is a critical step forward. But, sadly, we know that all too often guidance in these cases is not followed – putting children’s safety at risk.
It is critical that all judges, magistrates, court staff and Cafcass officers know about this new guidance, and how to use it. We hope you can help us raise awareness about the new guidance.
- Download our template letter on Practice Direction 12J
- Find your local court using this A-Z, and check that it hears children, family or domestic violence cases.
- Use the contact details listed to send the letter to your local court – either by email or post.
- Please share any responses you receive with us! [email protected]
Survivors need a safety net, join the #WellFAIR campaign
On International Peace Day (21st September) which is devoted to Respect, Safety and Dignity for All – we are calling on the Government to ensure our welfare system is #WellFAIR. Together with our sister federations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, we are campaigning to end two dangerous policies impacting on survivors:
- The two child tax credit limit and “rape clause”, which forces victims of domestic and sexual violence to disclose that their third or subsequent baby was born as a result of rape or coercive control. This dangerous policy is a serious human rights concern.
- The benefit cap – which is pushing women with young children into hardship and homelessness, and forcing women in abusive relationships to choose between poverty or safety.
Please join us by signing the petition and sharing a photo of an empty purse on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #WellFAIR. Include a message of support for survivors too – here are some ideas:
- Survivors should never be forced to choose between poverty and safety. #wellFAIR
- Benefit cap forces survivors to choose between poverty & safety. Unsafe. Unfair. I call on UK Gov to reverse immediately #wellFAIR
- Escape, and face hardship, poverty or homelessness. Or stay with an abusive partner. The choice facing survivors under the benefit cap #wellFAIR
- We need a safety net that helps survivors recover once they’ve escaped abuse. I call for #wellFAIR system that works.
Tools and Resources
Campaign Champion Toolkit
In May 2018 we launched a toolkit for campaign champions – which provides advice on getting started with your campaign, who to target, talking to the media, staying safe, and has lots of top tips too.
Toolkit for your local MP
Women’s Aid has created a toolkit for MPs constituency offices to help them to identify and support survivors of domestic abuse that might come to them for help.
Can you post this toolkit to your local MPs office, drop some copies in or email them over? Find your local MP using this website.