Unequal Regard, Unequal Protection. Violence against BME women in England

Unequal Regard, Unequal Protection. Violence against BME women in England

London: Sisters For Change launched its new report, Unequal Regard, Unequal Protection: Public authority responses to violence against Black and Minority Ethnic women in England at the House of Lords on 6 November 2017.

The report, assessing six local authority areas across England, was produced in collaboration with five BME Violence Against Women (VAW) service providers: The Angelou Centre, Newcastle; Apna Haq, Rotherham; The London Black Women’s Project, Newham, East London; Panahghar, Coventry and Leicester; and Ashiana, Sheffield.

The report presents the most extensive analysis of public authority responses to violence against BME women to date, with a scope that ranges from an evaluation of current practices of commissioning and funding of BME VAW service providers, to a legal analysis of the weaknesses and failings in current public authority and criminal justice responses to BME victims of domestic abuse and slavery, domestic homicide, trafficking and child sexual exploitation, to findings revealing discrimination in the provision of social care and support to BME victims of violence.

The conclusion of the report is that despite positive steps taken to introduce new legislation to combat violence against women and evidence of some innovative initiatives at the local level, the UK Government and public authorities are not effectively safeguarding the rights of BME victims of violence or adequately supporting the critical BME VAW service providers that serve them. It recommends a rethink of the Government’s approach to combating violence against BME women and makes 16 practical recommendations to ensure public authorities improve their compliance with legal obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998, Equality Act 2010 and child and adult safeguarding legislation. Specifically, it recommends ring-fenced funding for the BME VAW service sector, development of guidelines for local authorities on minimum levels of service provision for BME victims of violence, and suggests key areas of current legal and regulatory weakness that should be addressed through the new Domestic Violence & Abuse Bill.

The research and publication of the report was supported by the GMSP Foundation, Matrix Chambers and Clifford Chance.

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