UNISON will campaign to educate and improve understanding of violence against women as a gendered issue, providing guidance, sharing good practice and ensuring branches can represent all parties fairly and impartially.
Helen Duddy, Lanarkshire Health, said “It is devastating to hear in news reports almost daily about women being assaulted, beaten, raped and murdered. On average two women each week are killed by a current or former mail partner.
“The figures are shocking – as is the fact that too often the law doesn’t effectively hold male perpetrators of violence to account.”
Helen explained this is an equalities issue, “We are very clear in UNISON that this is a gendered issue absolutely recognising that men and boys can also be victims of violence too. We have also praised the work of the Zero Tolerance Project in Scotland and the Everyday Sexism Project which records women’s daily experiences of sexism, assault and harassment.”
She also highlighted the effect of austerity cuts on women’s services and ways in which women are most affected – cuts in tax credits cost women four times what they cost men; cuts to childcare cost women seven times as much as men; the child benefit freeze costs women five times as much as men.
“And sadly we all know that financial dependency can be a factor in whether women feel able to leave a violent relationship. Meanwhile women also bear the brunt of cuts to local government services.”
“We need to change society to make sure women can live free from violence.”
Rose Jackson, Retired Member, and first time speaker, highlighted there are men who are also in the receiving end of domestic violence in relationships. She called for services to be made available to male victims too.