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The Department of Justice issued two Calls for Views on issues to help inform the content, themes and overall direction of a new Domestic and Sexual Abuse Strategy and a Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy.

Following a number of focus group sessions in Women’s Centre’s Siobhán drafted the Consortium’s response to these two Call for Views.  The response highlighted the need for education from an early age around what constitutes a healthy relationship, consent and sexual harassment.  It highlighted the need for comprehensive, standardised Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) in schools and the importance of the work of the Raise Your Voice project in raising awareness of these issues and in prevention work.

The Consortium’s response contained a significant amount of input from local women through the focus group sessions highlighting the scale of the problem, the impact on victims/survivors and what they felt needed to change to make things better.  These quotes were included throughout the response to bring it to life and provide Government with evidence of the real life situations of many victims/survivors.

We also highlighted in our response the valuable work of specialist organisations working in these areas such as Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis as well as the network of Women’s Centres across Northern Ireland who provide important support, information and counselling services to women.

This was a huge response and contained a wealth of evidence from local women.  Siobhán wants to thank the Centres who facilitated focus group sessions and individual interviews in preparation for making this response.

The Consortium response to both Call for Views is available on the Consortium’s website here