This is a second post from my series ‘Women’s Rights are Human Rights’, where ever month I choose a charity supporting women’s rights. Last month I wrote about Womankind, a charity which works worldwide supporting root-level activists working to empower women through educating them about their rights. This month I am focusing on a charity, which works closer to home.
National Centre for Domestic Violence helps survivors of domestic abuse, by obtaining speedy and free civil injunction orders. This means there are legal basis to protect them. An injunction bans the abusive partner from approaching or contacting the survivor. If he breaks the injunction, the police is able to arrest him immediately. They would not be able to do it without an injunction.
While you may think it’s an agency supporting marginalised part of society the statistics paint a different picture. When I was researching this post I came across official statistics, which estimate that 25%-30% women have experienced domestic violence. That’s at least one in four women. That means it could be you, or one of your friends. And certainly someone you know. It is rather terrifying, isn’t it?
The NCDV was founded in 2002 by Dr Steve Connor OBE (at the time of founding he was a law student), whose friend experienced domestic abuse. She had a young child and a violent controlling partner, who kept all the cheque books and denied her access to bank account. Connor accompanied her to 12 different solicitors’ offices, but none of them would help her. Her income on paper meant she was not entitled to public funding, but in reality she had no control of her income and was not able to help for legal help. Spurred by this gap in the system Connor set out to put NCDV in place. Here is his fascinating story in full.
The full mission statement of NCVD:
The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) provides a free, fast emergency injunction service to survivors of domestic violence regardless of their financial circumstances, race, gender or sexual orientation.
Our service allows anyone to apply for an injunction within 24 hours of first contact (in most circumstances). We work in close partnership with the police, local firms of solicitors and other support agencies (Refuge, Women’s Aid etc) to help survivors obtain speedy protection.
The problem with domestic abuse is that it often doesn’t get reported, because the victim does not think the police will be able to do anything about it. Or they are simply too scared of repercussions from their partner.
It is important to spread the word about organisations like NCDV, so that all women are aware of it and know where to turn for help if they experience domestic violence. Being a victim of any crime leaves you feeling vulnerable and confused, so knowing what to do to get help will make the victim feel more empowered. And it is a first step to get help and turn their life around.
I think this post is a suitable place to mention the Clare’s Law, or more officially Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme. Clare’s Law is named after 36-year-old Clare Wood who has been killed by her former partner. It gives public the right to ask the police to check records if they suspect their partner or prospective partner has a record of violence. The law came to existence in March 2014.
This law and NCDV’s work is crucial if you consider that 46% of women killed by men in UK are killed by someone they have been romantically involved with. On average two women a week are killed by their partner.
Do share this information with your friends and spread the word on social media. This should be something we talk about. Leaving domestic violence in shadows and making it taboo means it will never be eradicated.