2 December 2020

Today is Day 8 of this year's 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence! We thought we would share a bit more about our work with staff who support women who have experienced domestic abuse.

We are currently working on developing a tool to support women rebuilding their lives after domestic abuse to know their rights and the duties of public services to respect and protect these. You can read more about this work here, and you can take an exclusive look at features of our tool here, as part of the 16 Days of Activism.

Alongside this work with people who have experienced domestic abuse, we are also working staff who support them. We have delivered a human rights session to staff working for Changing Pathways, a service which supports people who are currently experiencing, or have previously experienced, domestic abuse and other forms of inter-personal violence. In our human rights session, we gave information about the history of human rights and how they are protected here in the UK, and explained the duties of public bodies to protect, respect and promote human rights. We gave examples of when human rights might be used in interactions with public bodies, and how staff can support women experiencing or rebuilding their lives after domestic abuse to know and use their rights.

We love to know the difference our work and human rights sessions make in supporting staff to see their work as human rights work, and in supporting people to know and use their rights. Here is a quote from one staff member we worked with at Changing Pathways, talking about the tool we're developing and the sessions we delivered:

"Often, the clients we work with have a limited understanding of their own human rights and how this intersects with their experiences of domestic abuse and the legal obligations and responsibilities of professional agencies that are supporting them. Having a group of clients work with BIHR to develop the Human Rights Tool and participate in ‘mapping’ sessions, has provided a platform for victims/survivors to both learn about their rights, and also ensure that the information is accessible to others experiencing domestic abuse. The individuals that participated have felt incredibly empowered since gaining a much deeper understanding of their human rights, and how they are able to use these to advocate for themselves when engaging with professionals.



Often, it can appear that Human Rights are not considered when fundamental decisions regarding the client’s situation, are being made by other professional bodies such as social care and the police, and therefore it is imperative that Human Rights are considered by all professionals engaging with individuals experiencing domestic abuse. The sessions have been invaluable in allowing both the victims/survivors and case working teams to develop more confidence in using Human Rights in advocacy work to achieve positive outcomes
."

Anna, Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) Stalking Specialist at Changing Pathways 

It is so important to move human rights from the law books to everyday life, using real examples and a practical human rights based approach. This is what we strive to do at BIHR, with resources, practical tools and human rights sessions.

You can read more about work in human rights and domestic abuse in our recent blog 'Human rights and addressing domestic abuse'.

Learn more about our work with women rebuilding their lives after domestic abuse here.