Updated: May 4
GM4Women2028 welcomes the publishing for consultation of the long overdue GMCA
Gender Based Abuse Strategy. This is an important step towards fulfilling a key priority in the charge to bring progress and accountability for women’s rights, as identified by our safety data over the last three years. It is great to see strides being made in this area.
The first indicator on our GM4Women2028 2019 scorecard showed that 56% of female survivors of gender sexual-based violence in GM did not access support following their experiences. There has been a glaring lack of data since then to monitor this important issue. This, coupled with the well-established negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, clearly makes these issues all the more prescient. Our second indicator reflects the urgent need to extend access to support and safety to all women across GM regardless of immigration status.
We also welcome GMCA’s impetus to embed lived experiences within the core of the Gender Based Abuse Strategy and its organisational structure as it moves forward, as this is clearly vital in ensuring women and girls receive the best and most integrated support.
In answering the GMCA’s call for consultation, GM4Women2028 submit here a number of points for consideration in response to the published strategy:
• First, on measurement and impact, is information available on how the strategy’s impact is going to be measured, empirical data being critically important for measuring change. In particular, how will outcome) and impacts be measured in the case of the Gender Based Abuse Strategy? And given the distinct lack of data thus far, will this problem be addressed as part of the strategy and if so how?
• Second, transparency of process is essential. Will there be transparency about the budget – clarifying new money and existing committed funds which will be made available to carry out and implement the strategy? This information is critical when it comes to accountability and the assessment of the impact of different elements of the strategy.
• Third, inclusivity is key to a successful strategy. How will inclusion and accessibility be addressed starting with the consultation process itself? These are of the upmost importance in embedding support throughout communities in GM. Indeed, it is acknowledged on the GMCA website that the current document and its format/structure does not meet accessibility guidelines. What are the plans to address this?
• Fourth, the GMCA strategy repeatedly acknowledges the need to support women who are subject to the No Recourse to Public Funds, NRPF condition, GM4Women would like to see a clear commitment to investment in specialist support services for migrant women.
• Fifth, hearing all voices. Welcoming the importance of including real voices, and reflecting lived experiences, will provisions be made for shadow leaders to be able to speak in GMCA meetings regarding this and other strategies? Currently the make-up of council leaders is predominantly male, and this could again prove a barrier in a strategy that is focused on improving women’s experiences.
Note that it is important that the Gender Based Abuse Strategy does not use gender neutrality to the detriment of gender-specific initiatives centering the rights of children, women and girls in such policy and practice and that it follows international best practice seen in the Istanbul Convention, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, CRC, the Commission on the Status of Women CSW, and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination of Women, CEDAW.
GM4Women2028 looks forward to seeing our questions, as set out above, addressed in the strategy, and we look forward to working collaboratively with all stakeholders in ensuring the provision of inclusive and integrated services which support the safety of ALL women and girls across Greater Manchester. We thank you for the opportunity to present these vital points. We can do better – We must do better.