At No Feart we believe it is important that survivors have a platform to share their stories with others to raise awareness, offer hope and encouragement to others and offer insight into domestic violence.
All the brave women that attend our programmes have a story to share and their voices should be heard.
At No Feart, we believe victims experiences of support services and current legislative processes should help inform future government policy and legislation. As a result, No Feart is currently developing a survivor forum that will allow victims of domestic violence to come together to discuss these issues and hopefully help shape future policy and future legislation.
We would particularly like to see the Scottish Government offering more support to grassroots organisations led by survivors; and creating more opportunities to hear from survivors on their experiences of current services.
The Universities of Bristol and Warwick carried out extensive joint research for the Violence Against Women Research group into the lack of opportunities for survivors to have their voices heard.
The research assessed and measured survivors positively contributing to ‘achieving more focussed and responsive services, more democratic policy-making, and the individual and collective empowerment of those using services’ (Hague, 2005, p193). The findings evidenced that despite there being some examples of good practice such as a few Survivors Forums in the UK, opportunities remained limited essentially leaving survivors and their children’s real needs being ignored. Hague emphasised ‘service providers did believe that the involvement in policy and service development of women who had experienced domestic violence was very important, and something that they intended to do. However, very few had any idea of how to go about it effectively’ (2005, p194).
In 2009, The Scottish Government published a report called Safer Lives: Changed Lives - A Shared Approach to Tackling Violence Against Women in Scotland. The publication attempts to address the issue of gender-based violence and ensure agencies and professionals tackle the problem using an approved shared approach and framework to support victims and collectively tackle gender-based violence. The Scottish Government approach ‘complements and interacts with a suite of Government policy agendas which aim to improve the lives, experiences and opportunities of children, families and communities.’ (2009, p8). However, we would like to see attention focussed on the lack of Survivor led forums and organisations in Scotland.
Hague, G. 2005. Domestic Violence Survivors’ Forums in the UK: Experiments in Involving Abused Women In Domestic Violence Services and Policy-making. Journal of Gender Studies. 14(3), pp.193-203.
Donnelley, R.R. 2009. Safer Lives: Saved Lives: An Integrated Approach to Tackling Violence Against Women in Scotland. Edinburgh: The Scottish Government.