Violence Against Women

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2007 National Women's Conference
25 October 2006

Conference welcomes the recent report of the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) entitled “In-Depth Study on all Forms of Violence against Women” which acknowledges the role of violence against women (VAW) in perpetuating the subordination of women in all societies throughout the globe.

The UN report specifically states that strengthening efforts to achieve equality between women and men, and promoting and protecting the human rights of women, are key to preventing VAW, a position that successive National Women’s Conferences have endorsed.

Conference welcomes the leadership that the UN has shown on this issue; however, Conference is concerned that the UN has diminishing influence over national governments and that because of this there remains a risk that the recommendations of the Secretary General will continue to be ignored, as women’s voices have been ignored throughout decades of campaigning.

In concurring with the conclusions of the UN report, Conference is mindful that the campaign to end violence against women must form part of a long-term women’s rights strategy, which incorporates societal and economic change as key elements to its success. But Conference is also aware that for this strategy to work, we require more than an annual commitment from UNISON.

Conference believes that ending VAW must be an integral part of UNISON’s equalities objective, not an add-on to be debated and voted at each National Women’s Conference and left solely to women’s self-organisation to deal with. Conference also believes that this strategy must be embraced by the wider union, as ending violence against women is primarily dependent on changing men’s behaviour and attitudes.

Conference therefore instructs the National Women’s Committee to lobby the National Executive Council and other relevant UNISON bodies to make ending violence against women a key long-term priority under the Union’s Objective 2 – Negotiating and Bargaining on behalf of members and promoting equality.

Conference also instructs the National Women’s Committee to ensure that this campaign is highlighted and publicised through all available channels, to ensure that VAW is no longer treated as a woman’s issue within UNISON.