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Local professionals unite for quarterly forum to tackle violence against women

30 March 2023

We have partnered with Wandsworth Council and Metropolitan Police to facilitate an assembly of organisations working to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG) as well as domestic abuse.

The second iteration built on the success of the first forum, bringing together community organisations from across the boroughs of Richmond upon Thames and Wandsworth to share ideas and collaborate to establish a co-ordinated response that supports women and girls at risk of abuse, violence and harassment.

To work towards our collective goals of keeping women and girls safe, the forum also saw the election of Maisha Sumah and Felicity Barkas as the Chair and Co-Chair respectively, ensuring the forum remains community-led and puts the specialist knowledge of the VAWG sector at the heart of the work being done to combat the issue.

By working together with our partners in the Metropolitan Police and local organisations, the forum is key in delivering an effective organised response that minimises the threat of VAWG. Partnership working is at the heart of building trust and provides an opportunity to rely on the expertise of practitioners in the field to better support women.

The event included a guest speaker from FORWARD, a women’s health organisation and specialist advocator for women who have suffered from female genital mutilation (FGM). The speaker outlined the organisation's approach to safeguarding and their method of engaging directly with men and women in the community to empower them to advocate for change. Discussion allowed FORWARD to deconstruct the commonly held myths on FGM and educate professionals so they can provide more impactful support to some of 137,000 women and girls who live with the consequences of FGM in the UK.

During the morning, there was also the opportunity for us to showcase the incredible work being done through the Safer Streets partnership. The collaboration between Richmond, Wandsworth, Kingston and Merton was awarded £200,000 of government funding last year to continue its innovative work to make the streets safer for women and girls. This latest phase is part of the ongoing work to improve safety across the borough’s evening and night-time economies.

The forum aims to engage with survivor-facing charities and specialist services to deliver on our commitment to supporting the voluntary sector with their frontline work. Local community organisations were well-represented with representatives from Refuge, Action Breaks Silence, Multicultural Richmond and Achieving for Children in attendance.

As part of the work we do with the Richmond Community Safety Partnership, we are committed to collaborating with local groups to build an understanding of the values and challenges of our community so we can create a place that addresses your safety needs. Every resident deserves to feel safe in our community so we are working with partners to ensure survivors can access domestic abuse support.

If you are an organisation and would like to take part in the next quarterly forum, please email the VAWG Community Safety Officer at Abi.Jonas@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk.

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Up to: March 2023

Updated: 31 March 2023

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