Monthly Archives: March 2009

March Meeting Minutes

North London Fawcett Group Meeting, 26 March 2009

  • Can we go and cheer on London Marathon runners from Refuge? (See diary)
  • The North London Fawcett Group’s website is being updated by Bridget/Stephanie/Matty, but we are welcome to contribute links/pages/writing/ideas, either ourselves (we can get the login) or by sending it to Bridget/Stephanie/Matty.
  • There will be a London Feminist Network meeting on 7 April. They are the umbrella organisation for London feminists, and we are welcome to attend. (Email us for details)
  • Rape Crisis Centre petition – we were given a draft letter (available below) for us to send to our local government representatives concerning the funding for new Rape Crisis centres. We were concerned with the differences between Haven Centres and the Rape Crisis Centre (the former is geared towards collecting evidence, getting convictions, welcomes men and women, and can only help victims up to a year after their ordeal. The latter is women-only and will help women years after a rape).
  • We are drafting a question about the above to challenge Boris Johnson at the next Mayor’s Question Time. Boris is only bidding £233,000 to this ‘women’s issue’, when the Rape Crisis Centre needs £750,000 a year to stay open.
  • We briefly discussed the idea of holding a benefit to raise money for Rape Crisis (ideas welcome).
  • Stephanie and Matty would like us all to think of a place where a Fawcett stall could be held (this would be a stall to promote and spread the word, with flyers etc). Although we don’t have to man the stalls, ideas are welcome! They’d prefer if the suggestion tied in with an event that’s happening anyway – like a fete or something – where people would expect to find and engage with stallholders.
  • They are also thinking of contacting as many newspapers in the North London area to make them aware of the existence of our group. Any suggestions on suitable publications?
  • Suzanne mentioned a very exciting event she is planning – a celebration of our deity Mary Wollstonecraft’s 250th birthday, at her grave in St. Pancras Churchyard, on Monday 27 April (see diary). There will be music, reading from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, and cake.
  • Stephanie and Matty would also like any feedback on what we thought of the meeting, and how we’d like our Fawcett group to be run.

Courtesy of the excellent Rosie Haines. Thanks Rosie!

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March Meeting

Thanks to everyone who came to our second meeting, we’re so pleased with how it went. There are some new things in the NLFG diary – check our diary page to see what they are!

We have the lovely Rosie currently throwing together some minutes from our meeting so watch this space…

Letter to Boris Johnson

Below is a template for a letter to Boris Johnson regarding the funding for Rape Crisis centres in London. Feel free to use this as it is or muck around with it to suit; sending one to Boris and one to your elected representative is a good idea. Please encourage other people to do the same – the more letters we send the better the chance of influencing decision-making within the GLA.

Boris Johnson
Mayor’s Office
Greater London Authority
City Hall
The Queen’s Walk
London SE1 2AA

Dear Mr Johnson,

I am writing regarding your manifesto pledge to fund four new Rape Crisis centres in London. As you are aware, London has lost two Rape Crisis centres over the past decade, and there is now only one remaining. While London’s three Havens provide much needed services, they simply don’t offer the kind of long-term aftercare and time-consuming support that many women need following an assault. Rape Crisis centres are frontline services providing crucial support and independent advocacy for all women and girls of all ages who have experienced any form of sexual violence, at any stage after the incident, for as long as it’s needed. This is why they are so important.

The dire state of funding in Rape Crisis and other services for women experiencing male violence has been documented in recent reports such as `The Crisis in Rape Crisis’ (Women’s Resources Centre) and `Map of Gaps: the Postcode Lottery of Violence Against Women Support Services’ (End Violence Against Women Coalition). As these publications indicate, the consequences of this underfunding can be devastating for women needing services. Key findings from the ‘Map of Gaps’ report include the fact that most women in the UK do not have access to Rape Crisis centres; a third of all local authorities have no specialist violence against women support services; and fewer than one in ten local authorities has specialist services for ethnic minority women that would address forced marriage, female genital mutilation and crimes in the name of honour, amongst other issues. Rape Crisis acknowledges all forms of sexual violence including; rape, sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse, sexual harassment, rape in marriage, forced marriage, and so-called honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking and sexual exploitation and ritual abuse irrespective of the date the violence occurred.

In the light of what we know of the extent of violence against women in our society – including the fact that in the UK over 45% of women have experienced some form of domestic violence, sexual violence or stalking, and it is conservatively estimated that 80,000 women suffer rape every year – this lack of provision is a scandalous indictment of our society’s failure to care for women’s safety and wellbeing. I understand that you are currently developing a strategy to address all forms of violence against women in London. I would appreciate information as to the aims and reach of this strategy, and an indication of the timescale for its implementation. I would also appreciate information on the timescale for the provision of the four new Rape Crisis centres.
Given the serious failings outlined in the reports mentioned above, I would appreciate your reassurance that both the new strategy and Rape Crisis centres will be implemented as a matter of the utmost urgency.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

March meeting this Thursday

This Thursday’s meeting will be held in the Ossulston Tenants and Residents Association Hall, 29A Chamberlain House, corner of Ossulston St and Phoenix Road (entrance on Ossulston Street), NW1 1EU from 7pm. The centre is equidistant between Euston and King’s Cross/ St. Pancras stations:

Hope to see you there!

March meeting

We next meet on Thursday 26 March 2009 at 7pm.

This will be NLFG’s second meeting – with the success of the first one we’re very excited about this, we reckon it will be even better!

Email us for details.

Running for Refuge

from NLFG member, Claire Dunn:

This year I am running (or attempting to run) the BUPA London 10K on 25th May 2009!

One of my main reasons for running the 10K is so that I can eat more cake. But secondly, and more importantly I’m raising money for Refuge.

Refuge is a national charity for women and children who experience domestic violence. Here are some of the reasons I am raising money for Refuge.

One woman in four experiences domestic violence at some point in their lives.
Two women are killed each week by a current or former partner in and in 90% of domestic violence incidents children are in the same or next room.
On average a woman will be assaulted by her partner or ex-partner 35 times before reporting it to the police.

Just £10 could pay for an hour activity session for a group of children living in a refuge because of domestic violence.

If you feel that you would like to sponsor me you can do so through JustGiving: or if you do not want to go through this site I will be at the next North London Fawcett meeting.

I appreciate that in the current climate things are financially tough so any donations would be gratefully received.

Thank you.

Claire xx

Refuge and the London Marathon

We’ve had this message from Refuge:

Refuge, the national domestic violence charity, is looking for supportive people to come and cheer for our fantastic team in the London Marathon on Sunday April 26th 2009.

Domestic violence is a problem of staggering proportion in this country – one woman in four will experience it at some point in her lifetime, and two women are killed by a current or former partner every week. Since opening the world’s first refuge in Chiswick in 1971, Refuge has been at the forefront of the battle against this violence, and everyday we support more than 1,000 women and children to escape domestic violence and build a safe and positive future. As well as providing emergency safe accomodation, we also provide counselling and outreach services, give advice and advocacy support on pratical matters such as legal and housing rights and employment, run campaigns to raise awareness, and carry out research and lobbying to influence the governmental response to domestic violence.

Every year, Refuge enter a team of fantastic runners in the London Marathon. Our comitted team raise a vital part of our income, and we are so grateful to them for all their efforts both in pounding the road and in raising the much needed funds.

We always wish we could do more to support our runners and show them how much we appreciate their fantastic efforts. This is where you could help! We’re looking for enthusiastic people to come down and cheer for our runners during the day. We want to set up a cheering point on the course packed full of Refuge supporters, so that when our runners go past they’ll hit a wall of supportive sound which will give them a boost just when they need it! Whether you’re running or watching, the London Marathon is a really fantastic day and really enjoyable to be a part of. And who knows…… maybe you’ll get the bug and want to run next year yourself?!?

Interested? Contact Harriet Grey at Refuge.