The Women’s Regional Consortium appreciates the opportunity to respond to the Consultation on a Strategic Framework to End Violence Against Women and Girls and Foundational Action Plan. While abuse, harm and violence can be perpetrated by women against men it is disproportionately experienced by women and girls with women being much more likely to be victims and men more likely to be offenders. We welcome the fact that the Strategic Framework recognises this and sets out the journey to achieve transformational change.
There is no shortage of research which highlights the prevalence of VAWG in Northern Ireland in all its forms. This research shows just how extensive this problem is and details a range of harmful behaviours likely to have long-term, negative implications for victims’ health and wellbeing as well as negative implications for our local communities and society as a whole.
The ‘Every Voice Matters!’ report found:
- 98% of women interviewed said that they had experienced at least one form of gender based violence or abuse in their lifetime;
- seven out of 10 of those surveyed had experienced some form of violence or abuse in the last 12 months;
- Half of those (50%) experienced at least one form of violence or abuse before they were 11 years old.
The ‘It’s just what happens’ report found:
- The persistent nature of ‘everyday violence’ with almost all the girls and young women who participated in the research experiencing catcalling and street harassment from age 10-11 onwards;
- Girls receiving frequent unsolicited messages and sexual images from a young age. They considered this a normal part of their online life.
A study into online VAWG carried out by the Open University found significant levels of online violence experienced by women and girls across the UK. In relation to Northern Ireland the findings show that:
- 27% of women in Northern Ireland witnessed online violence.
- 14% of women in Northern Ireland who experienced online violence say this progressed to offline violence.
Survey evidence produced by the Women’s Policy Group in 20228 into VAWG showed the following key findings:
- 2% of women think that Northern Ireland has a problem with men’s violence against women and girls;
- 2% of women think that Northern Ireland should have a strategy to tackle men’s violence against women and girls;
- 83% of women have been impacted by men’s violence against women and girls but only 21.4% reported this to the police and 77.4% of those did not find it useful;
- 7% of women believe Northern Ireland has a problem with attitudes of sexism and misogyny;
This is an excerpt from the Consortium’s Response to: Consultation on a Strategic Framework to End Violence Against Women and Girls and Foundational Action Plan