Breaking Down the Barriers, a report produced by the National Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence and Multiple Disadvantage, established by AVA and Agenda, found that too many survivors of domestic and sexual violence are being failed by the system meant to help them, with devastating consequences for women and their families.
Breaking Down the Barriers set out a series of recommendations including that:
(1) Local authorities must take the lead in ensuring that local and regional systems work for the most disadvantaged women, by co-ordinating and encouraging local and regional bodies to work together better.
(2) Enquiry about domestic and sexual violence should be standard practice across publicly-funded services, with clear pathways into appropriate trauma-informed support.
(3) Steps must be taken to ensure the needs of marginalised groups of women are met and that vital specialist women’s organisations are given the support they need to survive and thrive.
AVA and Agenda want to ensure that the recommendations of Breaking Down the Barriers are taken into account in policy and practice – ensuring it has a real, practical legacy for women across the country.
National change is needed but local and regional decision-makers have real power to make a difference and must take the opportunity to think about how they can make systems and services work better for women in their area.
We will start this work in Greater Manchester, which presents an exciting opportunity to create positive change for women.
Using the findings of Breaking Down the Barriers, we will influence policy and practice in Greater Manchester, to ensure survivors of domestic and sexual violence in that area are able to get the support they need.
As part of this work, Agenda and AVA will work with the women’s sector in Greater Manchester, partners, and women with lived experience, to influence decision makers locally and regionally, before bringing the findings to a national audience.
To find out more or get copies of the executive summary and full report, please click here.