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2014 National Women's Conference
1 January 2014

Male Violence against Women (26 26.1, 30, 31)

Conference welcomes the decision by UNISON National Delegate Conference 2013, in passing Motion 8, to encourage women’s activism in our trade union. We recognise that this particular effort is necessary because, in a sexist society, women face particular obstacles to participation in all areas of life, including trade unionism.

Conference recognises that one such obstacle is created by male violence against women. Violence affects the lives of millions of women worldwide, in all socio-economic and educational classes. It cuts across cultural and religious barriers, impeding the right of women to participate fully in society.

The fear of stigma and the fear of not being believed prevents many women from reporting violence – however research has shown that 35% of all women world wide will experience either intimate partner or non-partner violence, with violence from an intimate partner the most common type of violence against women, affecting 30% of women worldwide.

In June 2013 the first global systematic estimate of violence was published and this showed that three in ten women have been punched, shoved, dragged, threatened with weapons, raped or subject to other violence from a current or former partner, with one in ten women being sexually assaulted by someone other than a partner. Of women that are murdered more than one in 3 were killed by an intimate partner and currently in the UK 2 women a week are killed by their partners.

Conference recognises that although men and boys are also the targets of violence, in certain forms of aggression – such as intimate partner violence and sexual violence – the majority of victims (and fatalities) are female, while the vast majority of perpetrators are male.

Conference affirms our opposition to all violence, whatever the gender or age of the perpetrator or victim but also recognises that, in a sexist society, male violence against women plays a particular role in limiting the participation of women in all areas of social life, including trade union activity. Therefore, as UNISON is committed to equality, we must address the particular problem of male violence against women.

Conference further recognises that, as a self-organised group for women, we have an obligation to speak up for women’s rights and to defend women’s interests. We believe that male violence against women is not acceptable in any case. It must not be tolerated from those who hold office or power in our movement, our movement must be a safe space for women.

We believe that our trade union has the potential to transform society for the better. Therefore we have a particular responsibility to confront and challenge male violence against women within our movement. Conference recognises the enormous challenges faced by women victims of male violence, and the pressures which women face, including from abusive men, not to complain about violence and abuse.

Conference believes that all women who complain of male violence have the right to be listened to and supported. Conference therefore believes that, when women complain of male violence within our movement, our trade union should start from a position of believing women. This must of course be without prejudice to a fair and impartial investigation which protects the rights of all parties.

Conference therefore calls on the National Women’s Committee to:

1. Organise a Fringe meeting at NDC 2014 to highlight the particular importance of violence against women;

2. Campaign to develop UNISON policy in line with this motion;

3. Develop a resource pack that could be used by branches to raise awareness of the true impact of VAW. This could also be used by activists to raise the issue in workplaces and within their branch.

(4) Develop a campaign pack that could be used by members in partnership with local services to fight the cuts to specialist VAW services.

4. Work with the NEC to issue guidance to branches on raising the issue of violence against women;

5. Circulate UNISON’s policy on Domestic Violence to all branches.

Islington UNISON (M)

Havering UNISON (M)

Eastern Region

Scottish Region