It’s within reach…

Hand in

Today we braved the British weather to deliver a birthday card we hope the Government won’t forget in a hurry.

The 8th of June 2016 marks four years since the Istanbul Convention (IC) was signed and the UK Government made a real commitment to tackling violence against women.

Since signing the Istanbul Convention, the Government has started to improve UK laws on violence against women to bring it up to the standards of the Convention. We have seen new legislation on forced marriage, coercive control and female genital mutilation (FGM).

These laws have made women safer. However, millions still face a life of threats and violence everyday. As time passes it can be easy to forget that each moment we wait for the the Istanbul Convention to be made law means more women and girls go without the vital protections that it offers.

The longer we wait for the Government to deliver on what it promised, the more lives are at risk and tragically lost. It’s that simple.

We wanted to deliver that message to the Government and so did our supporters. So we decided to send them a four foot tall birthday card to mark the four year anniversary of the UK signing the Istanbul Convention.

Over 230 people joined us and signed the card asking the Government to finish the job it started and ratify the Istanbul Convention.

We have had messages of support from Women’s Aid, Scottish Women’s Aid, End Violence Against Women Coalition, Everyday Sexism, Restored, White Ribbon and many more.

Everyone who signed the card realises that we don’t have an indefinite amount of time to ensure women and girls get the safety they are entitled to. Now it’s time for the Government to realise this and take action.

Two campaigners with four four card at the entrance to the Home OfficeAt IC Change, we are a grassroots campaign run by volunteers. We dedicated the last few weeks of our lives to working with friends to design, make and sign the card, all whilst planning an upcoming Istanbul Convention Parliamentary lobby, completing our studies, and holding down our jobs.

One of the main jobs of the Government is to keep its people safe and right now, that’s not happening.

But we dedicate our time because we know that the freedom and safety that the IC offers is within reach. Fully ratifying the IC is vital if we want to make sure women have lives free from violence and fear.

It is this belief that has us up early, dedicating our lunch breaks and spending our evenings making sure this story is shared far and wide. Today, it saw us walking in the pouring rain to deliver our card to the Home Office.

It’s this belief, and the support we know this has, that means that we won’t give up asking the Government finish the job they started and ratify the Istanbul Convention.

Fantastic faith-based organisation Restored is backing the IC Change campaign!


It’s a bright start to our bank holiday weekend as we publish our glowing statement of support from the fantastic faith-based organisation Restored, who are working to transform relationships and end violence against women by working through and with the church and Christians worldwide.

Here’s why they’re supporting the IC Change for the Istanbul Convention:

‘Restored is pleased and proud to join IC Change in calling on the UK government to ratify the Istanbul Convention. The Istanbul Convention provides a positive framework for action on prevention, protection and prosecution of violence against women and girls. It helps protect and support survivors of abuse.

Restored aims to transform relationships and end violence against women, working with and through the church. Challenging and changing the silence, shame and stigma around abuse are important steps yet this must be done in conjunction with the provision of funded, effective services to support survivors of abuse.

We strongly urge the UK government to fulfill its promise and to ratify the Istanbul Convention. The time to act is now’

First ever IC Change pub quiz fundraiser

pub quiz banner

On Tuesday 10th May, IC Change hosted our first IC Change fundraiser! 45 friends and supporters joined us for a pub quiz to raise money for the campaign. Thanks to everyone’s generous support we raised £260 which will help us take the campaign to the next level. Thank you to everyone who donated!

True to the theme of the evening, guests were given a feminism round with some great questions on achievements of women who have laid the path for this generation’s feminist movement.

We hope to have another quiz in a few months time to bring together all the campaign’s lovely supporters and raise some more funds – so watch this space! If you’re interested in future events please follow us and get in touch on Twitter at @ICChangeUK.

How many time have you heard ‘But what about the men…?’?

Luke martin

Although the IC Change campaigners are a diverse group (which includes men), we are very regularly asked ‘but what about the men?’ This isn’t a question unique to our campaign, those working across the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) sector will not be surprised to hear this question on a regular basis.

So following International Women’s Day (sometimes cheekily referred to as International ‘What about the men?’ day) we asked this question to a key ally, Luke Martin, a Specialist Domestic Abuse Consultant focusing on work with male victims and LGBT*.


Here is what he had to say:

As a man working in the Violence Against Women and Girls sector, a question that I never hear directed at me is: “what about the men?”.

My female colleagues get it quite a lot – I’m sometimes the person asking – but other professionals rarely ask me what I’m doing for ‘the men’.

It’s fair to say I’ve done my stint supporting male victims, including seven years working as a Male Independent Domestic Violence Advisor where I dealt with thousands of cases. Read more

Million Women Rise

MWR IC Change

This Saturday we were proud to take part in Million Women Rise, an international march of women and girls against male violence.

Ahead of International Women’s Day, we joined together with women from across the UK and across the world to take a stand against male violence towards women and say: ‘Enough is enough. This must change.’

As IC Change, we did not only go to draw attention to the issue of violence against women in the UK, how it is affecting us, our friends, our families and our communities. We also went to highlight a key part of the solution, which is within reach: the Istanbul Convention.  Read more

16 days: Southall Black Sisters

southall black sisters puzzle pieceSpecialist BME services provide culturally sensitive support in community settings.

We ACT because they … provide a range of advice and support services to enable black and minority women to gain the knowledge and confidence they need to assert their human rights.

Southall Black Sisters is an advocacy and campaigning organization that provides vital support and awareness around gender based violence for black and minority ethnic women (BME).

They provide family, housing and immigration legal advice surgeries, domestic violence outreach support to women from BME communities and the ‘No Recourse Fund’. The Fund assists women with an insecure immigration status who are experiencing abuse, by helping to cover their housing and essential living costs. This type of support is vital for women experiencing gender-based violence. Read more

16 days: AVA

ava puzzle pieceSupporting organisations and professionals working to end violence against women and girls

We ACT because … they equip professionals working to end violence against women and girls, from frontline staff to Government Ministers, by providing training, resources, and good practice guidelines.

Training professionals is one of the key ways Against Violence and Abuse (AVA) tackles violence against women and girls. Their training for professionals includes how to identify different forms of violence against women, support survivors, and work with children and young people affected by violence. And it’s had great feedback from professionals who have taken part. Read more

16 days: Forward

forward puzzle pieceSeeking a world where women and girls live in dignity, are healthy, and have choices and equal opportunities.

We ACT because they … work to transform lives, tackling discriminatory practices that affect the dignity and wellbeing of girls and women through partnerships in the UK, Europe and Africa.

One of the key issues FORWARD has focused over its last thirty years of championing the rights of African girls and women is female genital mutilation (FGM). FORWARD works in the UK, Europe and Africa to safeguard girls at risk of FGM and support women affected. Read more

16 days: DViP

dvip puzzle piece

When men want to seek help to stop perpetrating violence against their partners, where can they go?

We ACT because they … work with perpetrators of domestic violence across London to stop domestic violence and to reduce the harm it causes.

The Domestic Violence Intervention Project (DViP) has been going for over 20 years, working with men to challenge and change their abusive and controlling behaviour and have safer, healthier relationships.

They provide a Violence Prevention Programme for men who want to end their abusive behaviour against a partner or ex-partner. It covers different aspects of violence and control, and on skills for better relationships and parenting. The programme is accredited by RESPECT – the UK membership organisation working with domestic violence perpetrators, male victims and young people. Read more

16 days: Safe to talk

safe to talk puzzle pieceWorking together against domestic violence and abuse

We ACT because they… deliver a multi-agency approach to respond to domestic violence and abuse.

Safe to Talk (Coventry Domestic Violence and Abuse Partnership) is a partnership of different organisations tackling domestic violence and abuse in Coventry.

The partnership has a number of member organisations who work together on initiatives to raise awareness, support women and children experiencing violence and challenge perpetrators. The organisations include: Refuge, Safe and Supported Partnership (a partnership between Panahghar and Valley House), Fry Housing Trust and Barnardo’s.

Together, they provide a wide range of services, including a freephone helpline; email support; advice, emotional support, and practical assistance with benefits or support at court; support for children; and support for perpetrators.

Within the partnership, Refuge, the national domestic violence charity, provides the community support service. This includes support for court procedures, emotional support, help finding safe accommodation and support for children, help accessing counselling or mental health services, and help accessing benefits and information about financial issues. The partnership provides specialist support LGBT and for Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) communities.

One of the services provided by the partnership is supported accommodation. Much more than a place to stay for survivors of domestic violence and abuse, the supported accommodation offers practical support with parenting, money management, legal and criminal justice issues, physical and mental health, housing, and education and training.

Safe to talk also offers support specifically for children and young people in Coventry who have experienced domestic violence and abuse. This service, run by Barnardo’s and known as Defuze, involves emotional and practical support to children and young people, giving them a space to talk about their experience, increase their confidence, and improve their safety. This can be through one-on-one services or through group work. There is also a children’s Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) service to support children and young people through the legal system and advocate on their behalf.

In addition, Safe to talk offers a perpetrator programme called Brighter Futures for those who want to change, which is run by the Fry Housing Trust. The programme helps perpetrators to better understand their behaviour and its impact on others, take responsibility for this, and change.

If ratified and made law in the UK, the Istanbul Convention would ensure each of the individual services the partnership provides:

  • Free telephone helpline [Article 24],
  • Legal and psychological counselling, financial assistance, housing, education, training and assistance in finding employment [Article 20],
  • Support for children [Articles 22, 26],
  • Support for perpetrators [Article 16],
  • Refuges [Article 23], and
  • Specialist support services, including for LGBT and for Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) communities [Article 22].

The Istanbul Convention recognises the importance of having a joined up, integrated approach to tackling violence against women and, if ratified and made law, would strengthen partnerships like Safe to talk if it was made law in the UK.

ACT: Sign the Petition to ratify the Istanbul Convention and protect partnerships like Safe to talk and their services

SUPPORT: Find out more about what the work of Safe to talk and how you can help