A groundbreaking Surrey programme funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has been recognised by a national charity for its work in tackling violence against women and girls.
Revolving Doors Agency, a national criminal justice charity, published a new report yesterday called ‘Spotlight on Violence Against Women and Girls’ (VAWG) which features the innovative work PCCs are commissioning across the country to address the issue.
Amongst the seven case studies highlighted in the report is the Surrey Minority Ethnic Forum (SMEF) which receives a grant from the Surrey OPCC to lead the Active Communities Project in the county.
The aim of SMEF is to empower ethnic minority communities and to ensure that their voices are heard on the issues that affect them. It does this by hosting ‘People’s Assembly’s’ (forums) which bring together representatives from across black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) communities in Surrey.
In addition, SMEF plan to create safe spaces for women to access advice and information from trusted people in places such as shops and cafes while sessions with specialist service providers on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), ‘honour’ based violence and forced marriage will be delivered in Woking, Reigate and Banstead, Spelthorne, Guildford and Surrey Heath.
SMEF have trained ten Victim Support Volunteers from diverse communities in Surrey to both raise awareness and remove the barriers that make it hard for women to tell others about their experiences of violence.
They are trained in safeguarding, domestic abuse and Harmful Traditional Practices (HTP) whilst a free two-day course to inspire community members to become ‘Volunteer Champions’ is also being organised.
PCC David Munro said: “The vital work SMEF carry out in empowering some of our diverse communities in Surrey cannot be understated so I am delighted to see they have been recognised in this report.
“I am committed to tackling violence against women and girls in all its forms so it is really important to me organisations such as SMEF are supported in reaching out to those who may need their help.”
Suzanne Akram the CEO of SMEF said: “We are pleased to be featured in the report as the SMEF way is to reflect on and challenge these harmful practices. We sincerely believe that each and every one of us has a role to play in keeping our neighbourhoods and communities safe.”
Click here to read the Revolving Doors Agency report
To learn more about the work SMEF carry out in Surrey – click here