Women’s voices on health: addressing barriers to accessing primary care

Maternity Action and the Women’s Health and Equality Consortium have released research into the barriers to accessing GP services faced by women.  It found that 69% of the women who had experienced domestic violence did not seek help from their GP and there was little confidence in the GP’s ability to help.

The report is available to download here.

Imkaan Accredited Course: Understanding forced marriage and ‘honour-based’ violence, OCN Level Two

The above course is provided FREE to women’s voluntary organisations in London by ASCENT, a project of the pan-London Violence Against Women and Girls Consortium, funded by London Councils.

Dates and Venues:

22 & 23 October 2014
Amnesty International, 25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA

26 & 27 November 2014
Resource for London, 356 Holloway Rd, London N7 6PA

11& 12 February 2015
Amnesty International, 25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA

The course aims to:

  • Place the issues of forced marriage and so-called ‘honour-based’ violence in the wider context of violence against women and girls 
  • Examine the impact on survivors of forced marriage and ‘honour-based’ violence of intersections between patriarchy, racism and colonialism, and other oppressions
  • Examine commonly held myths and assumptions around culture and identity 
  • Explore the dynamic nature of risk in individual situations 
  • Develop participants’ knowledge, skills and confidence when working with those affected by forced marriage and ‘honour-based’ violence
  • Examine legal and support options available to survivors 

To book: Email info@imkaan.org.uk for further details and a booking form.

In-house Training

The following training courses are available to be booked for your own staff teams or multi-agency teams, tailored to your own work context:

  • Effects of Domestic Violence on BME Women: OCN Level Two, 2 days
  • Forced Marriage and ‘Honour-based’ Violence: OCN Level Two, 2 days
  • Peer Education Skills: OCN Level Two, 2 days

For further information, contact info@imkaan.org.uk 

'I Am More Than One Thing': A guiding paper by Imkaan, Positively UK and Rape Crisis England and Wales on women and mental health

This report, commissioned by the Women’s Health and Equality Consortium (WHEC), builds on existing evidence to highlight women’s experiences of poor mental health and wellbeing and their interactions with the mental health system. Focusing on women’s mental wellbeing within the context of the effects of sexual violence, the report is also an assessment of different levels of social exclusion and marginalisation, that could be experienced by black and minority ethnic women and women affected by HIV. The findings from this report clearly demonstrate the need for and value of a consistent gender-specific approach in the commissioning and delivery of mental health services. In addition to providing information to national policy leads and health commissioners, the guiding paper will also be useful for women’s voluntary and community services in reviewing their own policies, practice and service delivery.

Zoe Palmer, Manager and Senior Policy Officer at Women’s Health and Equality Consortium said:

"WHEC warmly welcomes this report produced by Imkaan, Rape Crisis and Positively UK which fills a gap in the evidence around women’s mental wellbeing and in particular, the mental health of women with marginalised experiences. Whilst there is a clear commitment to tackle mental health issues by government, it is critical that everyone benefits from the policies and strategies aimed at improving mental wellbeing. This report offers a unique and important contribution to understanding how to do this so that the inequalities women face in mental health can be effectively addressed" 

Dianne Whitfield, Chief Officer at Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre said: 

"It was a great pleasure to be involved in this project and a privilege to be entrusted with survivors’ stories to pass on to WHEC. CRASAC are proud to be part of a report that shows so powerfully the personal and societal impact of the gap between women’s mental health needs and service provision and we will incorporate the findings of this report as an essential part of our lobbying for sexual violence priorities within our local Health and Wellbeing Strategy."

Download the guiding paper here or the executive summary here.

Successful Commissioning: a guide for commissioning services that support women and children survivors of violence

Through our Capacity Building Partnership, Imkaan and Women’s Aid have created a free guide for local public sector commissioners, to support effective commissioning of services which takes into account the needs of marginalised groups of women experiencing and surviving violence.

The guide contains everything a commissioner needs to know about the provision of services for women and children survivors of violence and is the go-to place for all commissioners and funders seeking to effectively protect and provide for women and children victim/survivors of violence on limited budgets. Whether you know a little or a lot about violence against women and girls, this pack will become invaluable to your commissioning process, guiding you through from consulting and developing a strategy, guidance on writing your tender specification, to evaluating and monitoring the services you commission.

Imkaan Executive Director, Marai Larasi MBE said:

"If we are to truly address violence against women and girls, we need to make sure that survivors have access to effective, appropriate services, and that prevention is a core part of everything that we do.

In a time of such great economic difficulties and increasing concern about the impact of austerity measures on the most vulnerable individuals and groups in our society, it is even more important that we get the commissioning of vital frontline women’s services right.

This unique commissioning pack takes into account the challenges that we know commissioners themselves face, it distills the knowledge of frontline providers and other experts, and it sets out the legal context for commissioning services. Even more importantly – it outlines what survivors, including black and minority ethnic women, are saying they need in terms of support.”

Download Successful Commissioning: a guide for commissioning services that support women and children survivors of violence


The UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Ms Rashida Manjoo has today called for "urgent action to address the accountability deficit and also the adverse impacts of changes in funding and services"

Ms Rashida Manjoo has now finalised her two week country mission. Today she presented a nine page press statement which offers an initial, but comprehensive, overview of the UK’s approach and performance on violence against women and girls.

During her mission Ms Manjoo gathered information from Government, a number of NGOs and other stakeholders across the UK. At a session, hosted by Imkaan, women had the opportunity to discuss issues affecting black and minority ethnic (BME) women and girls in England. In a session for young women, Ms Manjoo was provided with insight into the specific challenges many young women face including their concerns about media representation and peer on peer exploitation.  We note with gratitude, that Ms Manjoo’s statement has taken many of those concerns into account.

Imkaan warmly welcomes Ms Manjoo’s statement. Reflecting on what it means for black and minority ethnic women and girls, Marai Larasi of Imkaan states, 

“It is rare to find comments within a ‘mainstream’ document, which skilfully addresses issues affecting black and minority ethnic women and girls without essentialising whole communities or minimising violence. Issues affecting black and minority ethnic women and girls are fully integrated into the statement at each stage and are commented on with rigour, care and nuance.” 

Ms Manjoo has reminded the Government that despite welcome developments, there are still significant shortfalls, all of which have specific implications for BME women and girls.

We particularly welcome Ms Manjoo’s critique of the problematic narratives surrounding violence against black and minority ethnic women and girls and her recognition that this violence is often decontextualized from wider patriarchal structures. We also reiterate her acknowledgement that current approaches to funding and welfare reform are having a disproportionate impact on BME women and girls and the specialist services that support them.

Imkaan has appreciated the opportunity to participate in this process and to reflect on progress made, and challenges faced, on addressing violence against women and girls the UK.  We thank Ms Manjoo for her sensitivity, and scrutiny.

We urge the Government to take into account the Special Rapporteur’s statement. It is essential that the Government works in a meaningful way with frontline, specialist women’s organisations, including BME expert NGOs to take immediate action in line with the recommendations.

As Ms Manjoo notes, there have been positive developments in this area; but eliminating violence against women and girls should not be left to "isolated pockets of good practice, which depend largely on the personal commitment of individuals and some authorities, but…not applied consistently throughout the country".Professor Manjoo’s press statement can be read here.

Imkaan’s submission can be read here.