16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign running from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, until 10 December, Human Rights Day. First started by activists at the inauguration of the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991, the 16 Days of Activism campaign is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organisations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
This year, the theme for 16 Days of Activism is “UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls”. Sustainable investment in quality-assured interventions that reduce the risk which perpetrators pose is vital to the immediate and long-term safety of victim-survivors of domestic abuse, which are disproportionately women, and stopping domestic abuse for good. It is also the most effective approach to tackling a problem that has been estimated to cost £78 billion a year, with cost accumulating from the impact of physical and emotional harm inflicted upon victim-survivors alongside wide-ranging economic loss and additional spending across national systems.(1)
As outlined by Respect, “perpetrators are as diverse as our population, so meaningful opportunities to change will look different for different people.” While there should be a range of different approaches to responding to perpetrators, at the heart of each is the safety and wellbeing of victim-survivors; which is the primary aim of behaviour change interventions. This aim is not only ensured through reduced risk of the perpetrator, but also through parallel victim-survivor support services that are integral to any Respect-accredited perpetrator service. Respect develops, supports and accredits partners and members to deliver a range of quality-assured responses to perpetrators, including providers of the Drive Partnership’s flagship Drive Project, a behaviour change intervention for high-risk, high-harm and serial perpetrators of domestic abuse, and Make a Change, a community-wide, early response approach to people who are concerned that they are using harmful behaviours in their intimate, or previously intimate, relationships.
We’ve worked closely with our partners, Respect and Make a Change, to showcase across 16 Days of Activism the innovative work being done within the domestic abuse sector across perpetrator responses, and to highlight the ongoing need for sustainable investment in a variety of these approaches across harm levels, geographical areas, and marginalised and minoritised communities. You can keep up to date with the campaign via our social media pages and Respect’s 16 Days of Activism webpage: https://www.respect.uk.net/articles/16-days-of-activism-a-range-of-responses