Barnet Post

Barnet Post

Barnet Council must enact real change to address violence against women

With these seven points material change could happen

Hero for Barnet Council must enact real change to address violence against women
Photo by Shilajit D.C on Unsplash

Barnet Council was due to refresh their Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy earlier this year for a September launch. To contribute to the strategy development, we hosted an online listening event in April to hear direct from women’s groups and other key local organisations. Participants shared their concerns and experiences and discussed possible solutions. We submitted the key points raised to the Council to help put these voices at the heart of future local action to tackle violence against women and girls.

We also requested that the Town Hall and Arts Depot be lit in orange in remembrance of Sarah Everard and all other victims of violence against women and girls, including Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, the sisters murdered last year in Brent, and again following the murder of Sabina Nessa.

With so many issues recently raised on the need for real change in addressing violence against women and girls (VAWG) we welcome that Barnet Council’s strategy update finally being underway, but believe it needs strengthening with:

    More detailed proposals on raising awareness about domestic abuse and violence against women and girls and accessing support, including across all our local communitiesMore focus on changing harmful attitudes and behaviour towards women and girls, including effective workshops and resources co-produced with young people.An in-depth review of housing support for domestic violence victims, with examples of cases that have gone wrong and how these issues will be put right for the future.A single well-publicised point of contact for women moved into (or around) the Borough - wrap around advice on housing, schools, benefits, translation etc. A specific focus on addressing concerns about abuse and harassment on public transportEngagement with local businessesA review of pro-active initiatives this year by other London Boroughs – including hosting listening events, walks and consultations to map areas people feel are unsafe, creating virtual maps of hotspots; and developing training for venues on tackling male aggression and abuse in the night-time economy.

Also, we recently signed a cross-party letter from over 250 London women councillors to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick. We will be sharing this with Barnet Council and hope they will join us in raising the key issues it details with the Borough and BCU Commanders, including making tackling VAWG a key local priority.

We urge Barnet Council to take real steps without further delay to boost Barnet's response to violence against women and girls and improve safety locally.