Thoughts from NWC AGM

Bethany and Angeline, our most recent placements, report on their experience of attending Nottingham Women’s Centre AGM

a board

This year’s AGM for Nottingham Women’s Centre took place on the 26th June 2018 and was the first AGM for the centre that was open to the public. Opening the meetings for the public fosters increased involvement with the centre’s work; therefore, creating greater ties with the community allowing the centre to highlight their campaigns and work to gain more support.

The AGM was held at City Arts in Hockley, Nottingham which allowed Nottingham Women’s Centre to support a partner organisation in the city and was also appropriate to display the mural created by Diana Ali and other NWC volunteers; however, due to the large turnout a bigger venue would be needed to be considered for next years AGM.

During the AGM, Nottingham Women’s Centre members voted for the new trustees that put their names forward this year. All of the candidates were voted in unanimously, with each trustee bringing relevant and varied experiences from their respective careers.

The trustees elected at the AGM are as follows:

  • Melanie Jeffs, who is currently the library director at Bromley House Library after being manager of Nottingham Women’s Centre for 6 years. Melanie put her self forward as treasurer due to her experience dealing with large budgets and financial reports.
  • Diana Ali, a local artist, international curator, arts educator and creative mentor.
  • Katy Dunne who has 15 years of experience working in the public sector in Notts, including community safety and with domestic and sexual violence and mental health services.
  • Zaqia Ghafoor, a qualified mental health social worker and currently a mental health advisor at Nottingham University. Zaqia previously volunteered at NWC for 12 months in reception.
  • Deborah Gordon-Brown, a practising solicitor and partner in a national law firm.
  • Rebecca Langton, executive officer to the leader of Nottingham City Council. Rebecca was previously the deputy manager of the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire refugee forum.

At the AGM the mural created by Diana Ali, a Nottingham based artist, and NWC volunteers was unveiled. This piece of artwork will be displayed in other locations throughout the city such as the Nottingham Contemporary arts centre.

Various Nottinghamshire organisations and NWC partners presented at this years AGM, highlighting the work they do, achievements from the past year and plans for the future. Among these organisations were BAse 51, Muslim Women’s Network, POW and more.

Partners present at the AGM:

  • Lyndsey Harris from the University of Nottingham presented her ‘empowerment through research’ project that aims to accumulate the views and experiences of Nottinghamshire women.
  • Base 51 who support young people aged 12-25. They provide a supportive environment to help young people with self harm, hate crime, self expression through arts, sexual health and more.
  • KAIROS, who supports lesbian and bi sexual women seeking asylum and those with refugee status to gain secure their immigration status and take up opportunities to live, work, study and socialise in Nottingham.
  • NCVS, who work with women and LGBT+ organisations in Nottingham providing organisational support around funding and governance.
  • LGBT+ Network  who offer a 5 night a week helpline, community newsletter, active social media presence.
  • Nottingham Muslim Women’s Network,  speaking about campaigning and increasing visibility of Muslim women in Nottingham as well as one to one and groups with women that you offer. NMWN  provide activities for women and girls (over age 13) from all faiths and backgrounds as well as support and sessions around a variety of issues including domestic violence, honour based violence, forced marriages, sexual exploitation and more.
  • Notts SVSS (Nottinghamshire Sexual Violence Support Services) – speaking about the counselling groups they offer and campaigns around enabling anonymous voter registration and Reclaim the Night. Notts SVS Services offer specialist counselling and support for survivors of sexual violence, aged 13+, living in Nottinghamshire.
  • POW works with sex workers, also campaigning on sexual exploitation. POW  support sex workers by providing peer mentoring and volunteering opportunities to support lifestyle changes.

As part of our student placement at Nottingham Women’s Centre we created badges and hashtags for attendees of the AGM to choose from and wear. These gave people a conversation starter as they discussed the meaning behind the hashtags. The aim was also to spread awareness of NWC campaigns as people take away the badges and possibly continue to wear them! In total we made 115 badges with 6 different hashtags and topics represented, for example the #TimesUpNotts and #NottACompliment campaigns.

badges
After the formalities of the AGM were over guests were free to enjoy a selection of cakes made by a local caterer and smoothies they could make themselves by pedalling on a smoothie bike!  In order to gain feedback and people’s views after the AGM there was a board available with post-it notes so attendees could leave their thoughts and opinions of the AGM and the Centre; this was a quick and easy way of gathering helpful feedback to improve future AGM’s!
One improvement for next years AGM would be to consider larger venues as mentioned earlier, this would meet the large interest shown in the event and allow for more guests. Another possible addition to AGM would be a greater focus upon Nottingham Women’s Centre’s services and achievements to go alongside the presentations from partners; this could possibly be done through a slideshow of pictures celebrating recent achievements of the staff, volunteer and members of NWC.

Overall, the AGM was an enjoyable event that celebrated the work being done by organisations across Nottingham. The significant interest shown in the event by the public was encouraging to see, showing there is an active interest in the welfare of women* in Nottinghamshire. Hopefully next years AGM will be just as well attended and enjoyable, celebrating even more of Nottingham Women’s Centre’s invaluable work.


Press release 9.07.2018: Overwhelming public support for Misogyny Hate Crime Policy

Available for immediate release on Monday 9 July 2018  

Overwhelming public support for Misogyny Hate Crime Policy

People in Nottinghamshire will not tolerate misogyny hate crime and a policy introduced in 2016 is already shifting the attitudes of both victims and potential perpetrators, according to a new report.

Over 87 per cent of people surveyed thought a policy change two years ago to make misogyny a hate crime in Nottinghamshire, was a good idea.

The survey, which was commissioned by Nottingham Women’s Centre and funded by the Office for Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner, was carried out to evaluate the policy implemented by Nottinghamshire Police.

According to the survey, over 64 per cent of women admitted that they’d altered their behaviour in some way to avoid harassment, such as changing the way they dress, avoiding using public transport or speaking out less online.

However, a recommendation from the report said any future campaign around the policy should actually focus on the men who engage in these behaviours being the ones who need to change.

The report, which was put together by experts from the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University, also found that nearly 94 per cent of people surveyed have experienced or witnessed street harassment in Nottinghamshire.

Helen Voce, the Chief Executive of Nottingham Women’s Centre said: “The primary objective of the policy change was not to see hundreds of prosecutions, it was to let people know that this behaviour isn’t acceptable and will not be tolerated in Nottinghamshire. People should not have to accept this behaviour and shouldn’t have to change their own behaviour to avoid harassment of this nature.

“What this research clearly shows is that people don’t want it anymore, and this policy is a step in the right direction in helping to change the culture across the county and stop this happening at all. We also hope that other areas will follow suit.”

The survey also found that whilst the overall feeling of the public towards the policy is positive, misogyny hate crime is still highly prevalent but under-reported. This is partly due to the ‘normalisation’ of these types of incidents and people’s lack of knowledge that the policy exists.

A proportion of respondents also struggled to know what misogyny actually meant, and felt the term was too ‘academic’.

Professor Louise Mullany, from the School of English at the University of Nottingham, said: “Our findings show that the public are supportive of the policy which was implemented two years ago, and whilst there are elements that need reviewing, on the whole, the policy is a positive change. The regular occurrence of incidents which sit under this kind of hate crime reported by our participants is quite shocking, and Nottinghamshire Police were absolutely right in addressing how they deal with such incidences.

“It was clear from some respondents that the wording of the policy may need changing, to something easier to understand. There also needs to be more awareness about the policy. We are only two years on, and all of these issues are easily addressed. We have made a series of recommendations in the report which will be the next step in further improving the policy.”

Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Our approach towards misogyny is first and foremost about supporting women and reassuring them that this type of behaviour will be treated extremely seriously. We also want to send a powerful message to society that behaviour which denigrates, marginalises and disrespects women is never acceptable and will be challenged.

“By itself, this new classification is not going to change behaviour overnight.  However, working with local partners, we are determined to change behaviour which normalises unacceptable behaviour. I’m delighted that here in Nottinghamshire we are leading the way and that it has such strong local support.

“This is an important piece of research which will encourage a growing number of Police Forces to tackle the issue”

Dr Loretta Trickett, from Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University, said: “This policy gives women the reassurance that their complaints will be taken seriously by the police. It’s still early days but our evidence shows that this is happening, the women we spoke to felt they’d had a positive experience after reporting misogyny hate crimes.

“The next step is to continue to train new officers joining the force, so they see how it fits in with other hate crime offences and how it impacts on society in general.”

Rachel Barber, Deputy Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police and the force’s strategic lead for hate crime, said: “We take all reports of hate crime extremely seriously and it’s great to hear that the focus on this particular strand of hate crime since 2016 by the force and partners has given women the confidence to report incidents. Our aim is not to criminalise people or increase prosecutions but about making it clear that behaviour which intimidates, threatens, humiliates or targets women is completely unacceptable.  However, we will of course seek prosecutions where these are appropriate. As the report shows, the vast majority of men are rightly appalled by this behaviour and it’s fantastic to be able to offer a victim’s perspective to educate and stop women being subject to hate crime due to their gender.”

-Ends-

 

Please follow this link Misogyny Hate Crime Evaluation Report June 2018 for the full evaluation report.

More information is available from Charlotte Anscombe, Media Relations Manager (Social Sciences and Arts) in the Press Office at the University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 74 84 417 or charlotte.anscombe@nottingham.ac.uk

Our academics can now be interviewed for broadcast via our Media Hub, which offers a Globelynx fixed camera and ISDN line facilities at University Park campus. For further information please contact a member of the Communications team on +44(0)115 951 5798, email mediahub@nottingham.ac.uk or see the Globelynx website for how to register for this service.

For up to the minute media alerts, follow us on Twitter

Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world’s top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students – Nottingham was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia – part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner – locally and globally.