Following the national outpouring of grief and anger following the death of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, the government reopened its consultation which looks at how to deal with systemic violence against women and girls. It closed last week.
It was a historic opportunity to do something about entrenched patriarchal violence and improve the lives of ALL women, girls and people who are impacted by it. That's why Refinery29 and Level Up, a feminist organisation based in the UK that works to interrupt all forms of gender injustice, joined forces to call on the government to update its violence against women and girls strategy by asking R29 readers to submit their responses to the consultation.
Four thousand of you did so in less than four days. And each and every response is a chance to directly shape government policy moving forward. But your responses highlighted the troubling nature of the status quo and reinforced the need for urgent change.
Ninety-nine percent of R29 readers said that more support is needed for those who experience violence against women and girls. As Janey Starling of Level Up puts it: "These results indicate how woefully unresourced this country is to support survivors – and how desperately this needs to be at the centre of any strategy on violence against women. Vitally, this support must come from specialist support services outside of the criminal justice system."
On top of that, worryingly, 79% of R29 readers said that they would not feel confident in accessing what support is currently available if they or a loved one were impacted by violence against women and girls. This confirms, in no uncertain terms, that the current systems aren't working as they should.
Seyi Falodun-Liburd of Level Up concluded: "It was so encouraging to see the sheer number of responses to the consultation, almost 4,000 in four days. This has highlighted just how many people are seeking a vastly different approach to the government's strategy to tackle violence against women. Now that the responses have been submitted to the government, Level Up will continue to seek opportunities to advocate for centring support for survivors – some of which will require us to collectively raise our voices again to ensure that the government listens to us."