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‘Setting up a Sexual Violence Forum: Tees Valley Experience’ 1st Sexual Violence Conference University of Durham November 26th 2007 Professor Jill Radford.

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Presentation on theme: "‘Setting up a Sexual Violence Forum: Tees Valley Experience’ 1st Sexual Violence Conference University of Durham November 26th 2007 Professor Jill Radford."— Presentation transcript:

1 ‘Setting up a Sexual Violence Forum: Tees Valley Experience’ 1st Sexual Violence Conference University of Durham November 26th 2007 Professor Jill Radford Section for the Study of Gender Violence SOFI, University of Teesside Chair: Tees Valley Sexual Violence Forum

2 Structure of Presentation Tees Valley Sexual Violence Forum Multi-agency approaches Background Formation Aims Membership Achievements Challenges Moving Forward

3  About Multi-Agency Working The appeal of multi-agency working stems from a recognition that sexual violence is a serious, complex and multi-faceted crime problem Different agencies bring different expertise Allowing the coordination of expertise and some pooling of resources Expertise is however vital; although the rape crisis movement has 40 years experience of working in this field, there remains an issue about how this expertise is recognised. With the shift to an integrated approach to violence against women, there are real concerns about non specialists entering / appropriating the field and delivering inappropriate services Most fundamentally, it has the potential to bring a holistic approach to responding to sexual violence

4 Evaluations of Multi-Agency Working around crime more generally have been positive… ‘… one of the most dramatic developments in crime control policy in the last decade, not only in Britain but also across Europe, North America and Australasia’ Crawford 1998:169

5 And negative … ‘the multi-agency approach is a bandwagon too hastily joined when there is yet no evidence to suggest that it is a panacea’. Gilling 1994:246

6 And more complicated In general, real progress in specific areas seems to a great extent to be due to local historical idiosyncrasies, or to the commitment and talents of particular individuals who happen to have taken crime prevention duties upon themselves.’ Liddle and Gelsthorpe (1994:27) Positioning on a continuum between ‘multi-agency’ (agencies working together) and ‘inter-agency’ existing agencies ‘merging’ to form or within a new project. (Radford, Martin and Alderson 2004) Power relationships between agencies, marginalisation of women’s voluntary sector (Hague and Malos 2000) Shared understandings and dangers of acceptance of lowest common denominator

7 Historical idiosyncrasies Commitment and talent Holistic approach Local diversity Bandwagon – hastily joined Real progress smoke- screen Face- saver Variability of services Feminist work on vaw Experience in M-A work Improved Services Innovative initiatives Multi - Agency? Talking-shop Expertise

8 Tees Valley Sexual Violence Forum

9 The Local: Where we are

10 Local History of Feminist Activism Around Violence Against Women Locally feminists have been active around sexual and domestic violence since the 1970s 4 Women’s Aid Refuges were founded in the 1970s Cleveland Rape Crisis Centre was founded in later known as CRSACS and CREATE

11 Local Experience of Forum Working Cleveland Domestic Violence Forum, one of the earliest, was formed in 1992 Chaired by Women’s Aid - an active forum, with many achievements including: hosting a 3-yr Zero Tolerance Campaign : ‘Cleveland’ abolished : Domestic Violence Forums founded in the 4 new Unitary authorities And in 2000 Darlington, Co. Durham (2004)

12 By 2002, Cleveland Rape Crisis Centre was: 21 years old - the largest in UK ~ 25 workers Income generating & supported by grants Providing counselling, advocacy and support ~ sexual violence and drugs+ eating disorders Training voluntary and statutory services Researching the attrition crisis (Home Office) Responding to Setting the Boundaries In negotiation with Cleveland Police and NHS ~ establishing a SARC for the region Broad-based and working in partnership with voluntary and statutory agencies

13 Rape Crisis in Crisis As a consequence of the insecure and inadequate funding regimes which characterises the voluntary sector … In Nov 2002, Cleveland Rape Crisis (CREATE) was suddenly closed and declared bankrupt The closure of such an established key service became a major issue at the Teesside Changing Law, Changing Practice Conference, where in consequence: Tees Valley Sexual Violence Forum was founded

14 International Week of Action Against Violence Against Women Rape: Changing Law – Changing Practice Conference Nov 2002 MDVF and University of Teesside Speakers Harriet Harman MP, QC, Solicitor General Vera Baird MP, QC, Redcar Alane Aitken: Women’s Support Network Kay Davies: CREATE - freedom from sexual violence Chair: Professor Jill Radford

15 Tees Valley Sexual Violence Forum - an inauspicious and auspicious start Originated in a major crisis – the collapse of the region’s rape crisis centre At a major Conference – Attended by over 100 people, including MPs, Women’s Voluntary sector, police, CPS … Addressed by a government minister – the Solicitor General

16 Tees Valley Sexual Violence Forum: Aims from these origins a 3-point agenda emerged: Re-establishing rape crisis services for the region Engaging with the draft Sexual Offences Bill, now the Sexual Offences Act 2003 Making a ‘state of the art’ Sexual Assault Referral Centre a reality Meetings at the University, Friday lunch-times, every 6-weeks-ish.

17 Black Women’s DV net M.P. Redcar Women’s Support Network N.Tees W. Aid Redcar & Cleveland W. Aid NISAA Asian Women’s Health M’Bro Refuge Nat. Council Women My Sister’s Place MDVF SECOS S. 4 study of Gender Violene Uni Cleveland Police Hospital Dr. Barnardos Bridgeway Uni Researchers Ex- CREATE workers I I Search

18 Forum Achievements -1 Rape Crisis Services Sexual Offences Act 2003 Audit of local counselling services Supported bids for emergency measures Supported bids for new services in S.Tees and development of services in N.Tees Services now in place, but on a much smaller scale than previously Now Law Engaged with the SO Bill as it went thru’ Parliament - via MP Monitoring its impact - still seeking funding for a research project

19 Forum Achievements - SARC Slower Progress - – Cleveland Police commitment £500k (2002) – Health authorities slower ‘rape not a health priority’ - commitment secured 2005 Representation on - SARC planning committee with Cleveland Police and NHS - and sub groups Consultation Survey Public education and awareness raising Lobbying MP Opened September 2007

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21 Tees Valley Sexual Violence Forum with the University of Teesside Sexual Violence Services: Consultation Survey Report February 2004 Professor Jill Radford & Sue Alderson Section for the Study of Gender Violence Social Futures Research Institute School of Social Sciences and Law University of Teesside

22 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY EVENT BIG CONVERSATION: SEXUAL AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Saturday MARCH 27th 2004, UNIVERSITY OF TEESSIDE ♀ SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT 2003 ♀ PLANNING-TEESSIDE SEXUAL ASSAULT REFERRAL CENTRE (SARC) ♀ DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, CRIME AND VICTIMS BILL 2003 Keynote Speakers: Professor Liz Kelly CBE Vera Baird Q.C. MP Dari Taylor MP Patricia Scotland, Baroness Scotland of Asthal, QC (video) Salma Castle: NISAA Professor Jill Radford: Chair

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24 Lap dancing : Professor Jill Radford Section for the Study of Gender Violence, SOFI Chair Tees Valley Sexual Violence Forum for N.E. Women’s Forum, Seminar December 2005 University of Teesside

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26 Other Forum Activities Opposed licence application from a local lap dancing club – failed Series of complaints re police responses to rape complaints - brought to the forum by young women from across the region - followed -up ~ being pressured to withdraw complaints by officers from outside the investigation team ~ Police - public statement that young women going out drinking ‘provoke’ it

27 Challenges: ‘Talking Shop’ Although ‘talking shop’ is a common criticism of forums – Tees Valley Sexual Violence Forum – talks a lot – we find it a necessary and productive activity that facilitates strategic thinking & interventions As a Forum, we have operated as a ‘think tank’ / policy advisory and networking forum Aim to identify gaps and promote the development of new services

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29 Conclusion As a Forum we have achieved such success as we’ve had because of: Historical idioscyncracies Feminist Activism Prior experience of forum working Commitment and talents of all involved Diversity within the region


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