Women’s Aid welcomes Government’s proposed changes on anonymous voting registration

Friday 3rd March 2017

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:

“Domestic abuse must not deny women their right to take part in democracy. But survivors of domestic abuse were frequently reporting to Women’s Aid that they could not register to vote because if their ex found their address, he would come after them. We strongly welcome the changes proposed today on anonymous voting registration, and we thank the Government – particularly the Minister Chris Skidmore – for decisive action on this. The proposed new measures send out a clear message to all survivors of domestic abuse: that their voices matter, and their participation in politics matters. Women’s Aid is proud to have worked in partnership with the courageous Mehala Osborne and 38 Degrees to bring this issue onto the political agenda.”

Mehala Osborne, survivor and founder of the Right to Vote campaign, said:

“I was denied a vote whilst living in a refuge, and I never realised how much having a vote meant till it was taken away. I had already been through enough, and to be disempowered even more was so difficult. I am so proud to have started the campaign that has led to these proposed change. Survivors in the future will not be denied their voice and democratic right to vote.”

Dawn Morville, survivor of domestic abuse who lived in a refuge, said:

“When I was living in a refuge, I could never register to vote as I was worried my ex would be able to hunt me down – and if he had been able to find my address, there is no doubt he would have come after me. This would have put not only me but the other women in the refuge at risk. And for years after I left the refuge, I still could not vote, because I knew that he would find me if he could, and seriously harm me and my children. So the proposed changes are great news. It will empower survivors, and give us back something that domestic abuse takes away: our right to have our say, and be heard, without being terrified that voting could mean our abuser comes after us.”

For more information, please contact our press office.

© 2015 Women's Aid Federation of England – Women’s Aid is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 3171880.

Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

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