Blog by Amarjot Kaur
Bristol to be a city free from domestic abuse and gender inequality by 2050.
In the recent Mayoral Commission’s report published March 2021, the Bristol city council highlighted the rise in domestic violence cases within the city, and proposed new measures the council intend to take, to make Bristol a city free of domestic violence and gender inequality.
Domestic violence is a prevalent and rising issue within Bristol, particularly increasing due to the global pandemic and the life changing effects of Covid-19. The commission’s report does an excellent job of highlighting the numbers of cases within the city, for example in “2020, 7,382 offences were flagged as involving domestic abuse in Bristol” alone, furthermore, “during the first lockdown between April-June 2020, the national domestic abuse helpline logged 40,397 contacts, a 65% increase on the previous three months”. These numbers entail the true shattering experiences of many living in Bristol and suggest urgent interventions to be made to tackle this rising crime.
The report contains 35 recommendations put forward by the general public, these suggestions providing arguably the backbone of their report and the foundation to the measures they intend to make, in response to prevent and tackle domestic violence. These useful resources made available as stated thanks to, co-chaired commissioners, Cllr Asher Craig and Cllr Helen Godwin, along with many other influential people such as the former Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens.
The goal, as suggested in the report, is for the people affected by domestic abuse within the city to have access to a clear pathway to follow, ensuring the message that “you are not alone and that the city will support you”, as well as committing to the aim to end domestic violence within the city.
The report outlines the council’s intentions to: strengthen awareness of this issue by building a campaign to reach all types of people within the city, made possible with the help of businesses and all media outlets in Bristol. The Councils’ stresses the idea of cooperation within the city: the Council intends to work closely with businesses, particularly the night time economy, through providing training to employees on how to recognise and respond to domestic violence, as well as developing on already established safety schemes such like the ‘ask for Angela’ scheme and our own Bristol Zero Tolerance project.
Additionally, the intent to make legal support more accessible and available for all was as well a target. After reaching out to the mayor’s office, plans are being pulled together to create a “further action plan document to set out steps towards achieving the recommendations”, a document publishing hopefully by the end of this year, and to further make progress on these plans, the mayor’s office is “planning to hold an event before the end of the year to reconvene members of the mayoral commission to shape and agree these plans”, an event which can be anticipate mid-late November 2021.
Throughout the report much emphasis was placed on Bristol coming together as a city and uniting to tackle this crime, this teamwork vital to the outcome of the aim to eradicate domestic violence in Bristol by 2050. Working with businesses to police this crime through the use of training, as suggested by the report “building on the pioneering work of Bristol Zero Tolerance”. We were pleased to note the frequent mention of this successful scheme, set up and run by Bristol Women’s Voice and the Women’s Commission, to help organisations tackle gender inequality within the workplace in the form of training programs for employees. It is positive to see our work being recognised by the council and we would be keen and honoured to work alongside the city to help bring about the demise of domestic violence in Bristol as well.
Bristol City Council, Mayoral Commissions Report (2021) Mayoral commissions on domestic abuse [online]. Bristol: Mayoral Office. (1-24).
Available from: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/documents/20182/5134107/The+Mayoral+Commission+on+Domestic+Abuse+report.pdf/9f85d232-fbb0-b91a-4d19-e093ca9546b6?t=1615542794441 [Accessed 21 September 2021].