We’re delighted to announce that Respect has become a member of the Faith and Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Coalition, a partnership of organisations currently nested within the Communities Team at Standing Together Against Domestic Abuse.
The Coalition was brought together by a range of organisations including Standing Together, Restored, Respect, Muslim Youth Helpline, Jewish Women's Aid, Forward UK and Latin American Women's Rights Service, as well as individual activists Nikki Dhillon Keane, Sara Hyde, Natalie Collins, Sara Kirkpatrick and Huda Jawad.
The group was formed because many survivors with a faith feel that there is a lack of understanding of their experiences of abuse, both across society in general, and in some specialist ending-VAWG services. There is also a significant knowledge gap around the barriers faced by many survivors of faith when seeking support, which can stem from their religious identity, their faith community and experiences of spiritual abuse.
Together, the Coalition highlights the critical role that faith communities and religious groups play in addressing VAWG, as they are often the first point of contact or help seeking for those experiencing abuse. It seeks to build on existing work to address VAWG by providing a more strategic, regular, and structural approach to centring the experiences of survivors of faith in this work.
We look forward to sharing our expertise - and that of our members - with the Coalition for the benefit of the communities it supports. We would like to support their efforts to challenge structures of systemic racism and provide strategic advocacy on behalf of survivors of faith and those from minoritised communities. We also hope to use our position as a sector leader to support the Coalition’s initiatives to influence policy, legislation and practice on behalf of communities of faith.