Anonymous registration for survivors of domestic abuse
Give all survivors the right to vote
Women’s Aid has been working with survivor and campaigner Mehala to ensure that all survivors of domestic abuse are able to register to vote anonymously.
Survivors of domestic abuse are legally allowed to register to vote anonymously in local and general elections. To do so, they must prove their safety would be at risk if their address is published on the Electoral Register, which is a public document.
But previous evidence requirements for voting anonymously were harsh and survivors – including Mehala – have been unable to register. As a result, they have been denied their right to participate in the democratic process. Mehala and Women’s Aid have campaigned for practical changes to make the process work for survivors – including ensuring that a refuge manager can sign an application form for anonymous registration.
On 7th March 2018 Women’s Aid and Mehala welcomed important changes to the anonymous registration rules. The changes will make it easier for survivors to register to vote anonymously by:
- broadening the range of people able to formally certify that a survivor’s safety is at risk (to include refuge managers, health professionals and police inspectors)
- expanding the list of documentary evidence that survivors can provide.
We have been pleased to have the support of Ministers, the Cabinet Office and Electoral Commission to make these reforms, and ensure survivors’ voices are heard in our democracy. We’ve worked with the Electoral Commission to produce new guidance for anonymous registration, which will help those supporting survivors – including refuge mangers – to register to vote.
What are we calling for now?
Although we’ve secured crucial changes, anonymous registration will still only last for 12 months. Domestic abuse does not end when a relationship ends, and research consistently shows that women can be at risk long after they have escaped an abusive partner. We are now campaigning to ensure that a survivor never has to choose between safety and their right to vote by ensuring that “anonymous voter” registration can be accessed for life – and will be pushing for further reforms through the government’s forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill.
Get involved – Become a Campaign Champion
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.