Governments need to start listening to survivors and ensure women have access to the services they need, says Anne Quesney

Helen Newlove’s report reveals a shocking – but unsurprising – reality for survivors of sexual violence (Sexual violence victims get ‘terrible deal’, says outgoing commissioner, theguardian.com, 27 June). Women who’ve been attacked or harassed routinely find that when they report violence, they don’t get justice. All too often, justice systems aren’t properly set up or equipped to support survivors. ActionAid’s own research on this issue globally bears that truth out, as do new statistics from UN Women, which reveal that in many countries regressive laws are holding women back from escaping domestic violence.

At ActionAid, we also know from experience that women and girls in poverty are even more at risk – and again, this is a universal issue. When justice systems aren’t properly equipped, survivors struggle to access legal aid or get the support they deserve from the police. Too many are left dealing with the emotional and physical impacts of the abuse on their own. Governments all around the world – the UK included – need to start listening to survivors and ensure that all women have access to the services they need, and the justice they deserve.
Anne Quesney
Senior women’s rights advocacy adviser at ActionAid UK

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