Onjali Rauf – Ever since her uncle murdered her aunt, Onjali has worked tirelessly to end the plight of women experiencing violence at the hands of men. Amongst her many achievements, she set up the organisation Making Herstory, whose aim is to empower women and girls and to inform people of the injustices that women face internationally. The organisation tackles issues such as physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, economic poverty, trafficking and enslavement. This includes raising awareness and funds to ease the plight of women and girls worldwide.
Anna Ditta experienced domestic violence for many years and the police response to her calls was unhelpful and meant that she stayed in the violent home because she felt that she had no other choices. Anna contacted Wycombe Women’s Aid asking for help. Through the help they gave her, her confidence and self-esteem grew and she bravely used her story to expose the failings of the police response to calls of domestic violence. Over a series of eight sessions Anna told her story to at least 250 officers. This has had a positive influence not only on the officers who attend domestic violence call outs, but also their supervisors who have changed the way they supervise officers because of Anna’s story.
“Sana” – a Pakistani woman who was brought to England following an arranged marriage aged 17 and subsequently abandoned following domestic violence, has bravely spoken out about her experience of being sexually assaulted on three occasions by a member of health care staff at Yarl’s Wood when she was detained there. In pushing for the authorities to be held to account, Sana has helped expose the multi-layered culture of disbelief that has allowed such abuse to thrive. She has inspired and supported many other women asylum seekers to stand up and speak out and has given hope to many who are struggling but still fighting the injustices of the immigration system.
“Annie” – a single mother who suffers mental ill health, spent four years fighting for to get her MP and local councillor, Mike Hancock, held to account, after he abused his position of power to commence a wholly inappropriate relationship with her. She struggled to get justice, first through the police and criminal justice system, then through parliament, the Liberal Democrat party and Portsmouth City council. She met with numerous outrageous hurdles from vested interests until finally achieving justice through a civil claim which included an unprecedented public apology from him. She also challenged the Liberal Democrat party and prompted further examination in the media of the Lib Dems appalling approach to sexual abuse allegations.
Kate Smurthwaite is a comedian and political commentator and columnist who uses her influence wherever possible to promote the causes of women’s rights, ending violence, harassment and discrimination against women. She is media spokesperson for Abortion Rights UK, she teaches English voluntarily to female asylum seekers, organises and performs at benefits for charities including Eaves Housing, Rape Crisis and Daughters Of Eve. She has confronted senior politicians and extremist religious leaders on a range of TV and radio debates, and has written for both the Independent and the Guardian on issues such as the treatment of female asylum seekers, abortion and contraception access.
Ending Victimisation and Blame (EVB) have created an anonymous platform for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and abuse to share their stories, providing a safe, supportive, anonymous and non-judgemental space for those who have experienced Domestic & Sexual Violence and Abuse to share their experiences. They offer training and consultancy for those working with people who have experienced Domestic & Sexual Violence and Abuse. Their campaigns have focused on challenging victim blaming within the media and the government, specifically on three areas: challenging individual journalists, challenging media organisations and challenging politicians. EVB are currently campaigning to have all politicians, at the local, national and international level undergo specialist training in domestic and sexual violence and abuse.
Agency for Culture and Change Management UK (ACCM UK) are a charity and an international non-governmental organisation who work to lobby for and communicate the effects of legislation concerning Female Genital Mutilation, Forced Arranged Marriage, Honour Based Violence and other harmful traditional practices in the UK. ACCM UK works closely with local communities through organising health and well-being activities, and they work with statutory service providers in order to provide training and information for the development of appropriate, sensible and accessible support services.
Young Women Against Violence Empowered (YWAVE) is a group of young women aged 16-25 who are committed to raising awareness around the issue of Domestic Abuse and its effects on children and young people. Many of the women have had their own experience of abuse and have completed training to become peer mentors for other young people. They deliver workshops in schools and colleges to raise awareness of healthy relationships and provide information around spotting the signs of abuse and where to go for help. The groups main aims are: promoting healthy relationships within young people, spotting the signs of abuse and protecting, promoting and improving current services and support from children and young people affected by abuse.
Koinadugu Women’s Advocacy Network (KWAN) is an autonomous women’s group based in Kabala in the Northern Region of Sierra Leone. This area was the scene of some of the worst violence during the civil war, with much of the population either involved in the fighting or directly victimised. Many of the men living there now are ex-combatants and domestic violence, alongside discriminatory laws and practices, is particularly rife. KWAN delivers basic paralegal and rights advice to rural women and girls and uses the information from these community activists to advocate with local, national and international justice service-providers and legislators for a more effective response to violence against women and girls. KWAN campaigns for women’s participation in local governance and intends to support victims (widows, orphans) affected by the deadly Ebola virus in the district.
Survivors of Prostitution-Abuse Calling for Enlightenment (SPACE International) – is an international organisation committed both to raising the public’s consciousness of the harm of prostitution and to lobbying governments to do something about it. SPACE includes members from France, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Canada, the US and the UK, formed to give voice to women who have survived the abusive reality of prostitution. They press for political recognition of prostitution as sexually abusive exploitation, and, as a response, for criminalisation of the demand for paid sex. They advocate for the implementation of the Nordic Model, which decriminalises prostituted persons, criminalises those who buy them, and provides viable exit strategies including education and training.
Special Award Nominees
Davina James-Hanman is the Director of AVA, which she took up following five years at L.B. Islington as the first local authority Domestic Violence Co-ordinator in the UK. From 2000-08, she had responsibility for developing and implementing the London Domestic Violence Strategy for the Mayor of London. She has worked in the field of violence against women for over two decades in a variety of capacities encompassing volunteer, front-line work, policy and strategy roles. She has published innumerable articles and two book chapters and formerly acted as the Dept. of Health policy lead on domestic violence as well as being an Associate Tutor at the national police college. She is also a Lay Inspector for HMCPSI, acted as the Specialist Adviser to the Home Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into domestic violence (2007/08) and Chairs the Accreditation Panel for Respect. In 2009 she assisted the Home Office in the writing of the national violence against women strategy. She also chairs domestic violence homicide reviews and ensures the voices of victims and survivors of abuse are at the heart of all she does.