This year we received a huge number of fantastic nominations and it was a real challenge to draw up a shortlist. You can find out more about our shortlisted nominees below. Winners will be announced at our annual awards ceremony on Friday 2nd December. Tickets are on sale now – click here to get yours.
Amber is an adult survivor of child sexual exploitation and horrific abuse by grooming gangs in Rochdale. After almost a decade seeking to hold Greater Manchester Police to account for their failings – alongside two other brave survivors who brought claims alongside her – Amber secured a landmark legal settlement in April this year from the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police. In an unusual televised address, the Chief Constable personally apologised to Amber and the general public for GMP’s treatment of her and other child victims. Having secured this victory, Amber is still hoping to persuade the Crown Prosecution Service to change its practices, or to support a change in the law, so that CSE victims like her can never again be criminalised or added to a criminal indictment in circumstances where they have been groomed by adult men.
(Amber is entitled to anonymity as a victim of serious sexual offences, and Amber is the name by which she prefers to be known in any publicity about her case)
Megan was a victim of serious violence and coercive control from her then partner. After he was convicted of murdering another man, and despite evidence of her experience of abuse, Megan was prosecuted for perverting the course of justice for allegedly helping him to evade capture. At her trial, there was a hung jury; the CPS insisted on a re-trial in which she was ultimately acquitted. Megan fought her case tirelessly and has used this terrible experience to raise awareness and support the Centre for Women’s Justice’s work to press for reforms in law and practice to end the unjust criminalisation of victims of domestic abuse.
Claire is the founder of ClearPath UK and creator of trauma informed healing programmes for abuse sector professionals and survivors of abuse. After finding a way to heal for herself and her children, Claire discovered that the majority of victims escaping abuse often suffer with debilitating trauma induced issues. In response to this, she created The Four Cornerstones of Healing, a programme which enables survivors to access healing tools that are otherwise inaccessible; this means that they can understand and manage their triggers, take back control of their lives and flourish beyond the trauma and abuse. She secured a four book publishing deal with Spellbound Books after creating resources based on her own healing journals and further research, her first book is due to be published later this year.
Currently working as a barrister, Lucy has previously been a Fire Fighter for the London Fire Brigade. Lucy raises awareness about the issues of sex-based oppression of women and works in an area of the law where she supports the most marginalised women through the justice system so their rights and voices are not lost. When not working, Lucy works with the Centre for Women’s Justice, advising women on a pro bono basis. Lucy also acts as a proud trustee for domestic abuse and sexual violence charity Aurora New Dawn, and Kids on the Green, an organisation set up in the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy to support local children who had been impacted and traumatised by the fire. Currently Lucy is setting up her own pro bono centre which aims to provide free legal advice to female victims of domestic violence who are involved in the family court proceedings.
Jane researched and produced The Homicide Timeline. The Homicide Timeline is an evidence-based model for understanding the way risk and threat can escalate in a controlling relationship, and potentially end in homicide. Using the principles of temporal sequencing and the histories of 372 cases of Intimate Partner Femicide, a staged progression which shows how risk can escalate is presented. It finds an emerging pattern, defined as the 8 steps to domestic femicide. The Homicide Timeline was presented to the United Nations and has been adopted by some statutory agencies and is used in domestic homicide reviews. Jane continues to raise awareness of the issue and the timeline, as well as an online training tool.
Councillor Rebecca Smith has served as a local councillor in Plymouth since May 2018. In response to the absolutely horrific murders in the city, she founded Plymouth’s Violence against Women and Girls Commission with the radical ambition to provide a blueprint for the safety of women that could be implemented immediately and provide lasting, irreversible change in just one generation. She was responsible for the publication of a report and set of recommendations within six months, setting out how the city of Plymouth might further its work to protect women and girls.
REIGN is a collective of young adult survivors of child sexual exploitation founded by the two directors, Zoe and Elicia. Their motto is ‘Power; not pity’ and their mission is to fix the systems that failed them as children, whether they are in the form of social institutions or ideological beliefs. The collective use their lived experiences combined with professional knowledge to campaign around issues relating to CSE and offer training workshops, presentations, and consultancy to professionals and organisations involved in preventing abuse, and supporting victims and survivors. Their training and consultancy work reaches thousands of professionals every year, offering an insight into CSE that cannot be gained from the usual safeguarding training.
Raquel Rosario Sanchez
Raquel is a writer, activist, and researcher from the Dominican Republic who came to the UK in 2018 to study for a PhD looking at Male Violence Against Women, specifically in prostitution. Since arriving she has faced attacks against her for speaking about the need for free speech for women to defend their legal sex-based rights. Raquel continues to study for her PhD despite a four year long struggle to get justice following a targeted campaign of bullying and harassment. Through that work, alongside her writing and campaigning, she continues to raise awareness about women’s issues globally and the need to fight for women’s rights.
Mary has suffered domestic violence, recovered and trained to help other women. She set up Refuge4Pets to help women who are afraid to leave their pets with a violent man. They can’t find refuge for themselves with pets. Mary and a group of volunteers take in animals whilst the women and children need to know they are safe. Mary has shown an understanding of how important animals are to families and how caring for ananimal can prevent a woman seeking her own safety.