Two years since Tower Hamlets launched its Champions approach to tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG), I was delighted to attend an event this morning which show cased the amazing work the champions are doing. The event was attended and supported by Mayor John Biggs.
The VAWG champions programme is designed to enable professionals and members of the community to be able to recognise the indicators of VAWG, to deal with disclosures effectively and to sign post to specialist support services. The programme is managed by the Tower Hamlets VAWG team, who train and support the champions to deliver the role.
At the event several champions spoke about the work they have done: school staff have been working to raise awareness among parents about FGM and sexual exploitation and to protect those at risk; Idea Stores have been raising awareness of domestic violence among communities and sign posting to support; and City Gateway have been training staff to recognise the indicators of VAWG and to support and refer women effectively.
To me, the morning illustrated the importance and effectiveness of a joined up approach which generates and empowers local leaders to drive change within their institutions and communities. I'm looking forward to seeing how the programme develops and to be a part of it.
Tower Hamlets Council is establishing a team of community champions who will be able to challenge sexual and other forms of abuse experienced by women and girls in the workplace and the community. The initiative is modeled on the community champions against hate crime, a scheme which has been in operation for some years. The Council hopes the champions will support all women against whom abuse has been directed and will encourage more victims to come forward and report instances of abuse.