Category Archives: News

Stella Creasy MP Rising [with apologies to Coldplay]

Labour MP Stella Creasy shares some of her record collection and why she is rising as part of One Billion Rising

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One Week to Go…Join Thandie Newton and help take #OBRUK to Parliament!

061608_newton_400x400There is just one week to go until One Billion Rising– still time for you to be part of making ending violence against women and girls a priority for everyone in Britain.
We’re delighted to announce that Thandie Newton will be joining the #OBRUK flashmob and photocall in Parliament Square at 11am on Thursday 14th February.
Help us get our message inside the gates of parliament too by writing to your MP and asking them to vote yes for the One Billion Rising motion to make sex and relationship education part of the national curriculum for both boys and girls on the day. You can find a sample text to use when writing to them here and their contact details too. We want your help in contacting all 649 MPs who can vote! Here is a briefing from Women’s Aid for schools to share with your local teachers and school governors too.
Below are just some of the events taking place in London on the day – we hope you can join us at any of them to show your support for #OBRUK. All of these events are open to everyone and free to attend:
  • 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM One Billion Rising LONDON Flashmob The Covent Garden Piazza
  • 10:30 AM – 6:30 PM VDay at the Hayward Gallery The Hayward Gallery
  • 11:00 AM – 11:15 AM Brixton Flashmob  Windrush Square, Brixton
  • 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM Flashmob and Remembering the 109 with Thandie Newton Parliament Square
  • 12:30 PM – 3:30 PM Debate in Parliament on OBR and Sex Education- ask to sit in the Gallery!  House of Commons
  • 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM The Young Vic Rising The Young Vic
  • 2:00PM – 3:00PM  One Billion Rising LONDON Flashmob Outside The London Assembly, CityHall
  • 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM Dance, Dance! Proper British Style London Eye
  • 2.15 PM – 2.45 PM Restless Buddha Flashmob Southbank Centre
  • 4.00 PM – 5.00 PM OBRUK event with Yvette Cooper MP and Stella Creasy MP Southbank Centre
  • 5:30 PM – 6:00 PM  Lambeth Rising Flash Mob Windrush Square Brixton
  • 6:00 PM – 6:45 PM  Restless Buddha at the Whitechapel Gallery Whitechapel Gallery
  • 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM  Dance Walking Our Truth With The Love Bugs For One Billion Rising Piccadilly Circus
As well as the above, there are now nearly 160 events planned across the UK- Find your local event see the list here and don’t forget to invite your friends and family as well as local councillors or MSP and Assembly Members to join you too!  In this final week please also help us tell the world about One Billion Rising– please tweet about why you are rising by using our hashtag #obruk or #1BillionRising, share our tumblr page and our Facebook updates.
One Billion Rising is a unique grassroots volunteer led movement which is helping women and those who love them to rise in support of this campaign across 200 countries- Here is a video message from Eve Ensler to you to say thank you for your support and a short article about the scale of the challenge we face in Britain as well as the work taking place internationally.
Please be part of next week’s day of action and help us say enough- its time to rise for a world where everyone lives equally without fear! 

How You Can Help Support OBR-UK

Briefing for One Billion Rising Campaign:

Day of Action 14 February 2013

 What this Pack Contains 

  • Introducing One Billion Rising
  • What is Happening in Parliament?
  • How can you Help?
  • Sample Letter to ask MPs to Support
  • Why this vote makes a difference
  • Background on Violence Against Women

Introducing One Billion Rising

One Billion Rising is an international coalition of campaigners speaking out for action to tackle violence against girls and women across the world. As part of celebrating the 15th Anniversary of V-Day on 14 February 2013, through combining creativity with campaigning, it is generating what some are calling a ‘feminist tsunami’. From Norwich to Peru, through Bute, Manila and Luxembourg via San Fransisco, Nigeria and Tel Aviv, activists are organising flashmobs, performances and seeking policy changes that speak to our simple message. To date over 13,000 organisations are now involved in planning events for the 14th February in nearly 190 countries.

In the course of the last nine months workshops have been held across the UK for campaigners who have been developing policy proposals to tackle violence against women and girls in the UK. On the day itself there are over 100 events are planned around the country- to see the full list please visit the www.onebillionrising.org website.

What is happening in Parliament?

On the 14th February a vote has been called on the following motion:

Protecting Future Generations from Violence Against Women and Girls

That this House notes the One Billion Rising Campaign, and the call to end violence against women and girls; and calls on the Government to support this by introducing statutory provisions to make personal, social and health education, including a zero tolerance approach to violence and abuse in relationships, a requirement in schools.

This debate reflects a key concern raised at each of the OBRUK workshops about the experiences of young women in Britain and the need to educate both young boys and girls about mutual respect within relationships. The debate will also coincide with the day of action as well as a series of major events in London itself including a rising at the London Eye, the Hayward Gallery, the Young Vic, in Piccadilly Circus, at the Southbank Centre, Whitechapel Art Gallery, in Covent Garden or as part of a travelling Londonwide Flashmob crew. The debate is a backbench business committee debate and has been sponsored by a cross party group of MPs including Fiona MacTaggart, Amber Rudd, Tessa Munt, Valerie Vaz, Annette Brooke, Jessica Lee, Caroline Lucas and Karl Turner.

How you can help the One Billion Rising Campaign

Campaigners may shortly be in touch with their MP to ask them to support the One Billion Rising campaign. Below are some simple ways you can help:

  • Ask MPs to join the Parliamentary debate on combating violence in relationships through effective education in schools and vote yes to the motion. You can find a sample email to send to MPs below or on the OBRUK website as well as details as to how to contact them. Please let the office of Stella Creasy MP know if you receive a positive response to this request.
  • For those who are not in London, there are 100 events across the country listed on the One Billion Rising events page, you can find out about local events here: http://onebillionrising.org/page/event/search_simple Please attend a local Rising event and support campaigners in our community.
  • Use social media to show your support for the campaign – please tweet using the #OBRUK or #1BillionRising or let your local newspaper know you are supporting the campaign.

You can follow the campaign on twitter at #OBRUK or #1BillionRising or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/OneBillionRisingBritain

Here is the suggested text of a possible letter to your MP to ask them to support One Billion Rising in a Parliamentary vote or by attending one of the many local events that will be taking place in or around their constituency.

Find out who your MP is and how to contact them here: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/

————————————————————————————————————————-

Dear Mr/Ms XXXXX,

Show your support: Join ONE BILLION WOMEN RISING – 14th February, at XXXX

I’m writing to you as one of your constituents to ask you to either attend a debate in Parliament or join us on February 14th here in XXXX to show your support the One Billion Rising Campaign.

One in three women on the planet is raped or beaten in her lifetime, according to the UN. We believe changing this should be a priority for all Governments around the world including our own.

On 14th February 2013, V-Day’s 15th anniversary, ONE BILLION women across the world will rise up to demand an end to all violence against women. Across the UK over 100 events have been planned in support of this campaign, and the UK parliament will debate and vote on providing statutory sex and relationship education in schools for both boys and girls. Challenging attitudes about relationships and promoting mutual respect is key to ensuring different outcomes for future generations.

We need your help to take our message to Parliament, and we would be delighted if you showed your support by joining our campaign in one of two ways:

–          Stand up against Violence in Parliament on the 14th February. Join in the Parliamentary debate which has been requested on combating violence in relationships through effective education in schools. Please let me know if you would attend this debate to vote in favour of One Billion Rising and this motion.

–          There are 100 events across the country listed on the One Billion Rising events page, you can find out about local events here: http://onebillionrising.org/page/event/search_simple Please attend a local Rising event and support campaigners in our community.

Please let us know which of the above actions you can take to support this campaign, or if you do not support this campaign and motion your reasons why so that we can update the campaign organizers. If you would like to attend our local event on the 14th February, please do not hesitate to get in touch for more information, and we’ll be sure to have someone meet you on your arrival at the event.

Yours sincerely,

[Insert name]

[Include your postal address to show that you’re a constituent]

—————————————————————————————————————–

Why would this vote make a difference?

Activists across the country are clear- to prevent violence against women and girls we need to do more to ensure both young men and women are supported to develop positive and equal relationships with their peers. The End Violence Against Women coalition[1] launched its ‘Schools Safe for Girls’ campaign in Autumn 2012. The evidence for the need for action has been further strengthened by the interim findings of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and the University of Bedfordshire’s Exploitation Inquiry, which uncovered worrying trends of increased sexual exploitation of young people by their peers[2] . So too, a 2010 YouGov poll found that almost a third (29%) of 16-18-year-old girls say they have been subjected to unwanted sexual touching at school[3], and the NSPCC found that a third of girls in relationships aged 13-17 have experienced physical or sexual violence in relationships, while one in 16 of this group reported experiencing rape[4].

A growing number of high profile examples have also shown what can happen when sexual abuse and violence goes unchecked and unchallenged in schools. Recent, shocking events in Steubenville, Ohio and Battersea show the need to ensure guidance on sexual relationships for young people. Indeed, violence and sexual aggression in now increasingly commonplace part of modern life for Britain’s young people and they need support to be able to make positive choices for their own future. NSPCC Research has shown that children are facing increased exposure to sexual content through modern communication methods especially ‘sexting’. Children as young as twelve are “worried, confused and, in some cases, upset by the sexual and ‘sexting’ pressures they face”[5]

Whilst families play a key role in mentoring children to overcome these cultural and social pressures, high quality sex and relationship education delivered to both boys and girls is also a vital tool in equipping and empowering young people to cope with the challenges and pressures they face. This should be grounded in a zero tolerance approach to violence against women and girls that is reinforced throughout schools from the curriculum to behaviour policies.

Making Sex and Relationship Education statutory and standardised was also a key and recurring recommendation from a recent Cross-Party Investigation into unwanted pregnancies[6]. “[T]here is a growing sense that we need to develop young people’s self esteem, values and awareness so that they can make informed choices.”  In particular the report makes the following recommendations:

  • “The government should take decisive action and make Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) statutory.”
  • “Statutory SRE training for teachers should be introduced so that teachers are more informed about the subject”

Whilst this report focused on preventing teenage pregnancy, it also argues the importance of teaching young people to have self esteem, values and awareness through such courses in schools so that they can make informed choices and resist being coerced into sex or peer pressure for risky sexual behaviour. This motion would enable these recommendations to be considered by Parliament, with a vote giving clear direction to the Government as to how to respond to growing calls to take action on this matter.

Background Information: Violence Against Women in Britain

The One Billion Rising campaign has been looking at how to end violence against women in the UK. The following information reflects the scale of the challenge Britain faces:

  • 35 per cent of all murders in England and Wales are domestic homicides.[7]
  • In West Yorkshire alone, over the last 6 months, almost 20 per cent of all emergency 999 calls – over 10,000 incidents– were domestic violence-related.[8]
  • In 2010/11, 728,145 incidents of domestic violence were recorded by the police. Of these, just 14 per cent, or 101,242 incidents, were referred to the Crown Prosecution service for investigation. Of those cases referred, only 63 per cent (or 63,782) ever came to charge and 58 per cent (or 59,101) resulted in a successful prosecution. This means that in 2010/11, only 8 per cent of domestic violence incidents reported to police ended in a prosecution.
  • The total cost of domestic abuse to services (the criminal justice system, health, social services, housing and civil legal) amounts to £3.8 billion per year[9]
  • Domestic Violence is more likely to involve repeat victimisation than any other ‘criminalised behaviour’ (British Crime Survey, 2009) Repeat victimisation accounted for three-quarters (76%) of all incidents of domestic violence as measured by the 2009/10 BCS.[10]
  • In any one year, there are 13 million separate incidents of physical violence or threats of violence against women from partners or former partners. (Walby and Allen, 2004)[11]
  • 31% of the funding to the domestic violence and sexual abuse sector from local authorities was cut between 2010/11 and 2011/13, a reduction from £7.8 million to £5.4 million. (Walby 2011)[12]
  • According to the 2010/2011 Women’s Aid Survey, on a typical day 3410 women and 2502 children are living in refuge accommodation. However, 230 women, just fewer than 9% of those seeking refuge were turned away due to a lack of space.[13]
  • The number of Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) has been reduced: in 2011, among 8 major IDVA service providers supporting 13,180 clients, 2 faced cuts of 100%, 3 cuts of 50%, 3 of 40% and 2 of 25%.[14]
  • 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence,
  • Only one in thirty rape victims can expect to see their attacker brought to justice
  • 24,000 girls are at risk of female genital mutilation.

Background Information: The OBRUK International Campaign

The debate will also enable parliamentarians to express their support for the One Billion Rising campaign, sending a strong message of support to activists not just in the UK but internationally about the priority Britain attaches to tackling violence against women and girls and the damage this does to global equality. One Billion Rising is working with campaigners across the world to call for change; for example Eve Ensler, who initiated OBR has addressed the Filipino Congress ahead of a vote on their Reproductive Health Bill while resolutions have been passed in city halls across California to recognise the importance of the issue. In being part of OBRUK, the UK Parliament has an opportunity to show solidarity with campaigners and activists around the world and so reaffirm a commitment to take women’s safety seriously; showing we understand that this is an issue that should concern us all.

  • Amongst women aged 15 to 44 , acts of violence cause more death and disability than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined.
  • 28% of US Female veterans reported experiencing sexual assault during their careers[15].
  • In the late nineties in South Africa, 40% of reported rapes and attempted rapes targeted girls younger than 17 years of age. (Human Rights Watch)
  • In India, a government survey of 12,500 children and parents in 13 of 29 states found that over 53% of children between the ages of 5 and 18 have been sexually abused. Most surveyed said they knew the abuser. (Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, United Press International, April 2007)
  • In the 2004 International Violence Against Women Survey, 57% of Australian women reported having experienced violence in their lifetime, 10% in the prior 12 months.
    • In 2005, the World Health Organization Multi-Country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence, the local rates in ten countries of ever-partnered women who had experienced violence from an intimate partner was:
      • 69 % Peru (province), 51% Peru (city)
      • 71% Ethiopia (province)
      • 62% Bangladesh (province), 53% Bangladesh (city)
      • 56% Tanzania (province), 41% Tanzania (city)
      • 47% Thailand (province), 41% Thailand (city)
      • 46% Samoa
      • 37% Brazil (province), 29% Brazil (city)
      • 36% Namibia (city)
      • 24% Serbia and Montenegro (city)
      • 15% Japan (city)

[1] This includes Amnesty International, the Women’s Institute, Refuge, the TUC, Unison and Imkaan

Ask your MP to support One Billion Rising

Here is the suggested text of a possible letter to your MP to ask them to support One Billion Rising in a Parliamentary vote or by attending one of the many local events that will be taking place in or around their constituency.

Find out who your MP is and how to contact them here.

———————————————————————————————————————-

Dear Mr/Ms XXXXX,

Show your support: Join ONE BILLION WOMEN RISING – 14th February, at XXXX

I’m writing to you as one of your constituents to ask you to either attend a debate in Parliament or join us on February 14th here in XXXX to show your support the One Billion Rising Campaign.

One in three women on the planet is raped or beaten in her lifetime, according to the UN. We believe changing this should be a priority for all Governments around the world including our own. On 14th February 2013, V-Day’s 15th anniversary, ONE BILLION women across the world will rise up to demand an end to all violence against women. Across the UK over 100 events have been planned in support of this campaign, and the UK parliament will debate and vote on providing statutory sex and relationship education in schools for both boys and girls. Challenging attitudes about relationships and promoting mutual respect is key to ensuring different outcomes for future generations.

We need your help to take our message to Parliament, and we would be delighted if you showed your support by joining our campaign in one of two ways:

–          Stand up against Violence in Parliament on the 14th February. Join in the Parliamentary debate which has been requested on combating violence in relationships through effective education in schools. Please let me know if you would attend this debate to vote in favour of One Billion Rising and this motion.

–          There are 100 events across the country listed on the One Billion Rising events page, you can find out about local events here: http://onebillionrising.org/page/event/search_simple Please attend a local Rising event and support campaigners in our community.

Please let us know which of the above actions you can take to support this campaign, or if you do not support this campaign and motion your reasons why so that we can update the campaign organizers. If you would like to attend our local event on the 14th February, please do not hesitate to get in touch for more information, and we’ll be sure to have someone meet you on your arrival at the event.

Yours sincerely,

[Insert name]

[Include your postal address to show that you’re a constituent]

One Billion Rising Comes to the UK Parliament

MPs call for statutory sex and relationship education as One Billion Rising comes to the UK Parliament

The One Billion Rising campaign hit the UK parliament today as a group of cross-party MPs made an impassioned plea to for parliamentary time to be given to a debate and vote on providing sexual and relationship education in all schools, as part of challenging the growing evidence of the violence and harassment of young girls in Britain. This follows on from work being done by activists across the UK as part of the international One Billion Rising campaign to make ending violence against women and girls a priority for all Governments. Lead by Labour MPs Fiona McTaggart, Karl Turner and Valerie Vaz, the proposal was supported by Conservatives Amber Rudd, Jeremy LeFoy and Jessica Lee as well as Liberal Democrats Annette Brooke and Tessa Munt and Green MP Caroline Lucas. 
 
Labour MP and shadow Minister for Crime Prevention Stella Creasy MP is helping to organise the One Billion Rising campaign in the UK and responded to this move:
 
‘It is fantastic to see cross-party support for One Billion Rising – I hope all those who agree tackling violence against women should be a priority will also ask their MP to join us in this campaign. Women and those who love them are rising across the UK. Events are planned in places such as Bute, Brighton and Birmingham as well as Sussex, Swansea and South Yorkshire so its only right that the call for an end to violence against women is heard in Parliament too. Recent shocking events both here and internationally- whether in Steubenville Ohio or Battersea in London -show violence and sexual aggression is now an increasingly commonplace part of modern life for young people. To be a more equal society we need to challenge this in a way which empowers them all to make positive and healthy choices about relationships. Making sure this is on the school curriculum is a powerful way we can change the lives of future generations and challenge both boys and girls on their attitudes about what behaviour is acceptable- I hope the parliamentary authorities will listen and join this rising.’ 
 
The move follows the work of the End Violence Against Women coalition which launched its ‘Schools Safe for Girls’ campaign in Autumn 2012 and the interim findings of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and the University of Bedfordshire’s Exploitation Inquiry, which uncovered worrying trends of increased sexual exploitation of young people by their peers. 
 
Campaigners made their request to the Backbench business committee of MPs which will decide how to allocate parliamentary time given to MPs. They now await the decision of the committee and confirmation that the Government will give this date for backbench business. 

Arts Against Violence: OBR Artfest

Art Festival as part of OBR-UK

“One Billion Rising, the new initiative of Eve Ensler, Tony Award winning author of the Vagina Monologues, is a global campaign, a grassroots movement that from Lima, to Paris, New Delhi to Kinshasa, Manila, to Bahrain is clamoring, loud and clear, for the end of violence towards women and girls. On February 14th, 2013, One Billion women and the men who love them will rise up on the planet, joining Eve Ensler and the activists of her foundation V-Day to strike, dance, shake the world and shift the energy, empower women and girls and break the cycle of violence.

Art has long been a vehicle of protest and an agent of change. Art is the most powerful the most direct and visceral way of speaking to people across boarders, and barriers. Art Motivates, art empowers, art opens people minds creating new ways of thinking. This is why I have wanted the OBR UK Art Festival as part of the campaign to bring together artists, performers, dancers, poets, playwrights, art lovers and the public in unity against violence. Once we are aware of something we can begin to change it.”

Nadja Romain, Chair OBR UK Art Festival

To find out more about One Billion Rising Art Festival and the events taking place on or around V-Day please visit the website: http://www.obrartfest.co.uk/

2.4 Million Victims: Act to End Trafficking

There are an estimated 2.4 million victims of human trafficking worldwide and it is an ongoing problem in the UK. Human trafficking comes in many forms and is most commonly cited in reference to trafficking for sexual exploitation. Trafficking also exists in many forms of labour exploitation. In the UK, agency workers in particular can be vulnerable in sectors including hospitality, restaurant and food production.  Exploitation can also be found within global supply chains for retail goods such as textile, garments, agriculture and horticulture.

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RED ALERT – Don’t let Universal Credit bypass women

Benefit changes- From the purse to the wallet

The Universal Credit is one of the Coalition Government’s flagship policies, aiming to consolidate benefits and tax credits into one single payment, thereby reducing complexity and administration. It will replace previous forms of assistance that have previously been paid to the ‘main carer’ for children in a household, 95% of whom are women.

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Economic Abuse: Educate to end it

41% of women who’ve experienced domestic force have also suffered financial abuse and Refuge has found that in many cases, victims question their ability to cope financially. Often this means that they feel unable to leave abusive relationships. Ensuring that young people are financially literate could prevent them from getting trapped in the same cycle of abuse.

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Urgent: Domestic Violence Services at Risk!

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) were elected on the 15th November to be responsible for your local police force’s Police and Crime plan and allocating the policing budget, including determining what proportion is dedicated to domestic violence prevention services. Given the news that 10% of 999 calls relate to domestic abuse, the role of PCCs and the decisions that they make about the police could not be more important.

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