Sisters for Change

London, UK

Gathering evidence on violence in the UK BME community

The way BAME women experience violence and abuse – physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional – is in many aspects different from other women. As research has shown this is due to many factors – language, family structures, culture and social isolation, and is some cases insecure immigration status. Each of these factors has a direct bearing with the way women cope with abuse and the kind of support they seek – from the tendency to stay longer in an abusive relationship to lack of confidence in contacting local authorities and knowing how to navigate the social care and criminal justice systems. It is for these reasons that specific dedicated BME violence against women organisations are needed, and an overwhelming majority – 89% of BME women survivors say they prefer receiving support from a BME specialist service.

BME gender violence charities have faced disproportionate funding cuts. For example, 1 in 3 local authorities have no women’s refuge, but 9 out of 10 have no specialist BME service.

GMSP is partnering with Sisters for Change to conduct a legal research and advocacy project in 3 boroughs across the UK to show that adequate support is not being provided to the BME community. The purpose of this project is to hold the government accountable; to channel more funds to this sector and create social policy change.