VAWG: The speech is over, so now where’s the funding?

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A vigil outside the Crowndale Center


THE town hall hall was filled with anger on Monday night as councilors gathered to condemn violence against women and girls – but the special debate ended without a clear agenda for action.


Upstream of the debate, the New review called for an end to slogans and a detailed plan of action for the continuation of the special session – held just over a month after the death of Nicole Hurley, the mother of four who was stabbed at Primrose Hill.


Council President Georgia Gould assured us last week that there would be “a set of recommendations and actions to discuss.” But these did not materialize.


Candles were lit ahead of the summit as advisers held their own vigil outside the Crowndale Center to remember women who have died from male violence.


A banner reading “NO Violence Against Women and Girls” was held up as Cllr Gould read the list of victims’ names.


Some counselors wore T-shirts saying “WE ACT to end violence against women”.



After a minute of silence, the participants entered the hemicycle and the debate began.


Speakers from Solace Women’s Aid, Hopscotch and Outspoken Sex Ed were in attendance, as was Camden and Islington Borough Commander Andy Carter.


Councilor Angela Mason, Co-Chair of the Women’s Forum, said: “We are having this debate today on violence against women and girls because I think we all think we have reached a turning point.


“Male violence and abuse is rampant in our society and things are getting worse, not improving, and even getting worse during the most intense period of the pandemic.”



Cabinet Advisor Angela Mason


Talk to New review after the debate, she added: “The work we have to do is almost endless, we have drawn some of the borders that we have to cross but we have to cross them.


“We have lost half of our income, we have to see how we can get our resources back to be able to finance issues like this which are a priority.”


At the end of the debate, Chief Community Safety Advisor Nadia Shah added: “I just wanted to close by talking about some really practical measures that we are currently working on in Camden in terms of women’s safety in the public domain. . “



The whole meeting


She went on to list a new safe streets reporting app, which will allow women to report areas where they don’t feel safe, an increase in the number of police arriving due to new downtown Met teams and increased effort to enroll in London’s Women’s Night Safety Charter and tailor licensing agreements to prioritize women’s safety.


She added: “We are committed to taking a feminist approach to tackle this, from street harassment to domestic violence and abuse with a coordinated approach and we will continue to campaign for misogyny to be recognized as a hate crime. at national scale.”



Conservative Advisor Maria Higson


While these actions were welcome steps, some feared they did not go far enough.


Conservative adviser Maria Higson said: “We had no details, no targeted achievable goals, none of these were met, there was no further engagement from the meeting – it was a missed opportunity to do something different. “


“There was no turning point, no big push for something new. It was all something they were already planning to do.


Cllr Higson was a member of the Women’s Forum which worked on a report on domestic violence that will be presented to cabinet advisers next month.


Funding for more services was bypassed by one advisor who called it an “F word”.


At the end of the meeting, Cllr Gould said: “I am truly delighted that despite the cuts we have found £ 400,000 to invest in the recommendations of the Women’s Forum.



Benaifer Bhandari, Managing Director of the Hopscotch Charity


The recommendations have yet to be released, so it’s unclear what this money will be spent on, or when.


Benaifer Bhandari, managing director of the Hopscotch charity, told the board the problem was a lack of funding: “Sometimes when I can’t sleep at night I think I feel like the board is abusing it. really VAWG. [violence against women and girls] services.”


She added afterwards: “It’s hard enough to organize a service, but constantly being looking for money for them is what brings me to my knees. We have a waiting list for our domestic violence services.


“The more difficult the subject, the bigger the elephant in the room, no one will discuss money. People like to talk about equality, but they don’t like to talk about money to support it.


Ms Bhandari added: “Obviously they have suffered austerity cuts, but they have to find the money, Monday night’s meeting should have been about finding the money.”


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