“The United Nations tells us that one in three women in the world experience physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner, and that since the outbreak of COVID-19 domestic violence has intensified.

Over two women a week are murdered in the UK by their partner, ex-partner or family member. However, since the coronavirus pandemic, homicides have increased and the number of domestic violence complaints has doubled.

Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation and more action is needed to help eradicate it and to support victims.

We are therefore using the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence to highlight domestic abuse across the UK by running a 16 day social media campaign, to bring to attention of prominent faith, political, and other local leaders and influencers that they can help make a stand on eradicating domestic abuse. BiCC's posts during this period explain what domestic abuse looks like and what help is available to support victims.

In 2019, the heads and leading figures from faith-based domestic abuse charities, spanning different faith communities, have come together to warn about the problem of domestic abuse and support the campaign:

 

#FaithsAgainstDomesticAbuse

 

The joint statement signed by activists from Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Sikh communities as well as groups offering universal support, expresses concern that charities may face even higher demand once the restrictions of lockdown are eased. It also called on government to provide more sustainable funding for domestic abuse services, particularly those supporting survivors from BAME, migrant and faith backgrounds.

 

The statement was released as Faiths Forum for London, in partnership with Faiths United and the Women’s Interfaith Network, have launched the #FaithsAgainstDomesticAbuse campaign to highlight the problem of domestic abuse in faith communities.

 Signatories:

  • Tara Corry, Women's Interfaith Network 

  • Polly Harrar, Founder of Sharan

  • Sahdaish and Narinder Kooner, Sikh Women's Action Network

  • Veronica Simpson, Back in Control Consultancy 

  • Shahien Taj OBE, Henna Foundation

  • Faith & Violence against Women and Girls Coalition

  • Forward

  • Jewish Women's Aid

  • Latin American Women's Right Service

  • Muslim Youth Helpline

  • Respect

  • Restored

  • Standing Together Against Domestic Violence

  • Natalie Collins

  • Nikki Dhillon-Keane

  • Sara Hyde

 

The campaign has published guidance for domestic abuse with support helplines aimed at victims from faith communities.

The main points made by leading faith-based activists in the joint statement are as follows:

 

  • Evidence has shown that the lockdown has exacerbated the situation for many women. Women with abusive partners report feeling “trapped” at home.

  • Many women in faith and BAME communities face the most barriers to accessing domestic abuse support services.  They also stay with abusive partners for longer than women in the general population and are less likely to access mainstream support.

  • There is concern that charities may face even higher demand once the restrictions of lockdown are eased, as some victims feel trapped at home and are unable to seek support at present.

  • Government support is welcome but does not go far enough to ensure specialist BAME support organisations have the resources and capacity they need to support women

  • Call upon government to better and more sustainably fund domestic abuse services, particularly those supporting survivors from BAME, migrant and faith backgrounds.

Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner has approved the following quote: 

 

"We know that the problem of domestic abuse is widespread, affecting victims of every faith and BAME background. The Covid crisis has brought a whole new set of series and challenges. Different faith-based charities coming together for this campaign is welcome.

 

The Faith & VAWG Coalition's launch conference in March also highlighted the possibilities of supporting survivors and ending abuse when communities and sector specialists come together. #FaithsAgainstDomesticAbuse is a good example of this and of different faiths working together to highlight the problem and support survivors in all communities."

 

Huda Jawad, SAFE Communities Project Manager and co-founder of Faith & VAWG Coalition, of Standing Together, said:

 

“We call on faith leaders and representatives to continue to condemn domestic abuse and harmful practices that have no place in religion, and undertake training to spot the signs of abuse and better support survivors in their communities.”
 

Maya Oppenheim at the Independent has picked up the statement and written about it here: 

 

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/coronavirus-domestic-abuse-religious-leaders-spiritual-faith-bme-a9533016.html 

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