Every year, between 25th November and 10th December, organisations worldwide come together to acknowledge 16 Days of Activism against gender based violence.

Across Bradford, partners who work with victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse and sexual violence, held a series of events to support this international call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls – here’s a brief summary.

On the 19th of November, we decided to celebrate International Men’s Day and focus on male victims and there’s a good reason why. Although proportionately women are more likely to be victims, according to the Office for National Statistics (2021-22), 25% of domestic abuse crimes recorded by the police were committed against men. And so, we launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of the support services available for men across the district (see here). We then followed this up with a day where partners shared with professionals the many services they have for male victims.

PC Ahmed of West Yorkshire Police, had an information stall at this event and said:
‘While it is a general perception that domestic abuse is something endured only by women, violence against men is more commonplace than is often realised.

For the district to recognise this by bringing support services for male victims together at this event, sends a strong message that men suffer too. I was immensely impressed by the many partners who attended and the lengths and breadths of the holistic help they provide’.

On 23rd November we had an audience with Wayne Redmond, a DRAM navigator from the Bridge Project who works with men who are both victims and perpetrators. This service takes an all-inclusive approach by recognising and supporting the multiple unmet needs of their clients.

Wayne said of the event:
‘Domestic abuse is routinely portrayed as a gendered crime, perpetrated by men against women but we know that is not always the case. In my role, I work with men on both sides of abuse – those who are victims and those who are perpetrators. Together we identify their unmet needs to help them live a life free from the trap they’ve often found themselves in.

My thanks go to the organisers who asked me to present at this event – when I was offered the opportunity to shed a light on the work we do, I jumped at the chance. We can’t and shouldn’t hide away from speaking about violence against and by men or we will never break the cycle of abuse’.

The next event was a Cyber Awareness session delivered by the police to help us to get up to speed with the language and apps used by young people. Children are a particular target of abuse online and this session really opened all of the attendee’s eyes to the dangers of the virtual world. In response and early in 2024, we will be delivering a series of articles around abuse and the cyber world.

And finally, on the 8th December we held an invitation only event for professionals involved in the Domestic Homicide Review (DHR) process to consult on the new DHR guidance. A DHR happens when someone has been killed as a result of domestic violence or suicide. A multi-agency review is then carried out. Professionals who have not been involved in the case must review what happened so that we can identify what needs to be changed to reduce the risk of it happening again in the future.

We used the session to highlight the benefits of learning lessons and to consult and launch our new guidance document. We had a guest speaker, Julie, who’s daughter Jade was the subject of one of our early DHRs. Julie highlighted the importance and impact on the family in addition to how integral the families of victims should be to the process.