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Rape Crisis Scotland

WORKING TO
END
SEXUAL VIOLENCE.

08088 01 03 02

Phone the free Rape Crisis Scotland Helpline
Every day, 6pm to midnight

'Secret shame' - new postcard
'Secret shame' - new postcard In spite of the fact that the only person who is EVER responsible for sexual violence is a perpetrator, one feeling that many survivors are left with following an assault is shame....

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Transgender Day of Remembrance
Transgender Day of Remembrance Rape Crisis Scotland is marking Transgender Day of Remembrance 2015 with a new postcard highlighting the number of trans people murdered around the world. You can download this here ....

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New report supports Protection Gap campaign
New report supports Protection Gap campaign The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) has published a new report on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) . The report includes recommendations that support the Charter campaign to lose the Protection Gap. The report recommends that: "the Government amends the guidance for interviews to raise the importance of making female interpreters available for cases of violence against women and girls. The current state of using them when 'operationally possible' is not satisfactory and means that their provision is not high enough a priority. "The Government should also amend the guidance to make the responsible authorities have a responsibility to provide crèche type childcare at venues where screening takes place." Specifically the recommendations support the demands of the Protection Gap campaign for the Home Office to: · Guarantee that women can have a female interviewer and interpreter if they choose · Provide childcare during screening and asylum interviews You can find a more detailed summary of the asylum issues covered by the report below. There are only a few days left to sign a Postcard for Protection online. Please do encourage as many people as possible to sign at www.asylumaid.org.uk/protectiongap Joint Committee on Human Rights - Report on Violence against Women and Girls Asylum Aid: Summary of asylum issues During 2014 the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) undertook an inquiry to examine the United Kingdom's progress towards ratification of the Istanbul Convention (Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence). In their report on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) published on 19th February 2015 the Committee examines each article in the Convention to ascertain the UK's compliance with it. This summary focuses on issues relating to asylum (with emphasis added). Committee conclusion The chapter on immigration and asylum concludes "we are disturbed by the evidence we received that the routine use of male interpreters, the operation of fast-track detention system and the reported culture of disbelief within the Home Office wall result in victims suffering further trauma whilst seeking asylum or immigration to the UK. We find this unacceptable" (Para 220). Protection Gap campaign The report includes recommendations that support the Charter campaign to close the Protection Gap. The report recommends that: "the Government amends the guidance for interviews to raise the importance of making female interpreters available for cases of violence against women and girls. The current state of using them when 'operationally possible' is not satisfactory and means that their provision is not high enough a priority. "The Government should also amend the guidance to make the responsible authorities have a responsibility to provide crèche type childcare at venues where screening takes place." These issues were raised in evidence by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (Para 217). Specifically the recommendations support the demands of the Protection Gap campaign for the Home Office to: · Guarantee that women can have a female interviewer and interpreter if they choose · Provide childcare during screening and asylum interviews Double discrimination The JCHR summarises its concerns about VAWG in relation to asylum seekers stating "These women and girls are often overlooked. Immigration policy is developed separately from policy about violence against women and girls" (Summary). The Protection Gap campaign argues that measures being brought in through the Foreign Office for survivors of rape during civil war should also be available to women who flee such abuses and seek protection in the UK. Reiterating evidence from the Refugee Council the Committee states "We find it worrying that current Home Office policies leave people destitute during the asylum and immigration process and that this in itself leads to women being at a greater risk of being a victim of violence. This is in contrast to funding being provided by the Department for International Development to post-disaster zones which looks specifically to address such survival strategies used by women. We believe that this demonstrates the need for better co-ordinated domestic and international policies across Government departments on asylum and immigration processes" (Para 201). The Committee notes Asylum Aid's recommendation "that the Home Secretary should ensure that there is regular representation from the Immigration Minister and UKVI [UK Visas and Immigration] at the appropriate level at all meetings discussing violence against women and girls" (Para 19). The Committee recommends that "the work of the Inter-Ministerial Group [on VAWG] be broadened to include questions of asylum and immigration rules and practice as well as the compliance of devolved policy with the Istanbul Convention" (Para 27). Culture of disbelief The Committee notes evidence from Asylum Aid and Amnesty International of the higher proportion of reversals of decisions in women's cases. (Para 211). The JCHR argues that women in the asylum system face a culture of disbelief and double discrimination as asylum seekers and women (Para 216). In relation to the culture of disbelief Mike Penning, the Minister of State for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims told the Committee, "it is completely inappropriate and fundamentally wrong in any modern society that someone is not believed because they happen to be immigrant or an asylum seeker. [...] If that is happening in the Border Force then that is fundamentally wrong, and we will look at it" (Para 213). In contrast to this the Immigration and Security Minister, James Brokenshire, stated that "The Government does not accept that there is a 'culture of disbelief'" (Para 214). The Committee concludes that "Through the Inter-Ministerial Group [on VAWG], the Government should monitor the training, the number of reversals of decisions made and the extent to which the guidance for immigration officials is properly followed to ensure a culture change" (Para 27). Vicarious traumatisation The Immigration and Security Minister, James Brokenshire, noted that a course entitled "The Psychological Factors Affecting Decision-Makers" was piloted to encourage decision-makers to reflect on the impact of their work and raise awareness of potential risks, including vicarious traumatisation (Para 215). Detained fast-track (DFT) The Committee was concerned that "those who allege that they are victims of violence against women and girls are being detained through the fast-track process and recommend a review of the screening process for this as a matter of urgency" (Para 221). They noted concerns from Women for Refugee Women at the lack of information on which a decision to allocate an applicant to the DFT was made (Para 208) as well as concerns by the Royal College of Psychiatrists regarding retraumatisation and the way it inhibits an applicant giving a coherent account (Para 209). Special Rapporteur's visit to Yarl's Wood Referring to the UN Special Rapporteur on VAWG not being able to visit Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre during her mission to the UK in April 2014, the Committee noted the observation of the Foreign Affairs Committee "We find it surprising that the Home Office was unable to facilitate a request, even at short notice, from a UN Special Rapporteur to visit Yarl's Wood immigration detention centre. It sets a dangerous precedent for other countries to follow suit and has caused embarrassment to the UK" (Para 210)....

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New rape prevention campaign launched
New rape prevention campaign launched A new campaign designed to highlight vital changes in sexual offences legislation was launched in Edinburgh today.The “We can stop it” campaign is being led by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) and highlights a recent shift in the law....

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Stop rape!
Stop rape! Rape Crisis Scotland has adapted an apt and popular revision of the traditional approach to rape prevention in a new poster and postcard campaign. We hope this will help to reverse the popular trend of focusing rape prevention messages on women and instead transfer these towards more appropriate recipients - potential perpetrators....

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Rape Crisis Scotland launches new postcard
Rape Crisis Scotland launches new postcard Rape Crisis Scotland has launched a new postcard challenging attitudes to rape.Please contact info@rapecrisisscotland.org.uk if you would like to receive hard copies of the new postcards. You can also download pdfs of the front of the postcard here, and of the reverse here ....

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Now is the time to deliver on key pledges on sexual violence
It is now clear that the SNP will be the next Scottish Government. Two explicit commitments in their manifesto are of particular interest to anyone concerned with addressing violence against women:  continuing funding for Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid, and legislating so that in sexual offence trials judges will direct juries not to take into account any delay in reporting a rape or any apparent lack of resistance from the victim / survivor when reaching their decision.  Two very important pledges with the potential to make a real difference.  Provision of support and access to justice following a crime as traumatic as rape need to be seen as basic human rights.  Rape Crisis Scotland looks forward to the implementation of these commitments and to working with the new Scottish Government to improve responses to sexual violence....

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New Welsh campaign
New Welsh campaign The Welsh Assembly Government has launched a campaign to challenge a culture of victim blaming. http://www.stopblame.org/en/The Stop Blame campaign aims to dispel the myth that victims of rape or assault are in any way responsible for the heinous crimes that they suffer. Victims of rape or sexual assault may be reluctant to report the crime for fear of being judged as responsible for what has happened to them. The campaign aims to put an end to this attitude by showing victims, perpetrators and the public that the blame lays solely with the assailant and not with the victim. Wales’ Social Justice Minister Carl Sargeant said: “Victims of rape or sexual assault are in no way responsible for what happens to them. Apparent justification such as ‘she was too drunk’ or ‘she was asking for it’ just doesn’t wash. This attitude can be extremely damaging for the victims and we must put an end to it now. There is absolutely no excuse for committing rape or sexual assault and the blame should never be placed on the victim.” Paula Hardy, Chief Executive of Welsh Women’s Aid, said: “Welsh Women’s Aid and the violence against women sector in Wales have been working closely with the Assembly Government in the development of the campaign. We welcome its launch, which proactively challenges the myths around victim blame, and we hope this will lead to greater justice and support for survivors of rape and sexual assault." The Welsh Assembly Government campaign was launched on Friday 17 December with a series of radio adverts, outdoor posters and online advertising. The campaign is supported by the stopblame.org website which aims to challenge the blame culture and also features information and advice for victims....

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First Minister Alex Salmond supports dedicated funding for Violence Against Women Services
First Minister Alex Salmond supports dedicated funding for Violence Against Women Services On 24th November we took the Save Our Services campaign one step further when we joined forces with Scottish Women’s Aid, Zero Tolerance & White Ribbon Scotland for a day to lobby MSPs at the Scottish Parliament. MSPs moving through the Members’ Lobby on their way to or from the debating chamber were greeted by a visually arresting timeline behind our large stall  - a very eye-catching reminder of the huge advances we’ve made in Scotland over the last four decades in fighting violence against women and supporting those who have suffered its consequences. And very many of them responded by coming over for a few words and signing our pledge to preserve dedicated funding for VAW services. We were delighted to receive the support of the First Minister, who you can see here signing the pledge....

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Don't Suffer in Silence
Don't Suffer in Silence This poster, produced by Perth & Kinross Violence Against Women Partnership, provides contact information for local and national support services and is intended to raise awareness & understanding. Its very clear message reinforces the fact that perpetrators, and not those who suffer at their hands, are to blame....

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