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.