Stamping out stigma

Ministers, MPs, Peers and social justice experts at the House of Commons threw their weight behind stamping out stigma for survivors of sexual violence at a House of Commons debate organised by World Vision UK. 

(From left to right: General Messenger, Baroness Nicholson, Stephen Twigg MP, Baroness Anelay, Charlotte Watts, Erica Hall, Tim Pilkington) 

The discussion followed the launch of World Vision UK’s report No Shame in Justice, in December 2015 and looked at ways that UK government departments and aid agencies can move forward together to address the issue of stigma related to sexual violence. 

Erica Hall, World Vision UK’s Senior Child Rights Policy Advisor and author of the report, explained how the stigma that survivors experience hinders their recovery. 

“Stigma can never be underestimated. Survivors have told me that it can be worse than the violence itself, “she said. “We must recognise the link between stigma and accountability if we are to improve prosecution rates.”

Erica emphasised the need for government departments to continue to work closely together. She said this will ensure the greatest impact is made in international programmes aimed at  ending sexual violence in conflict.

Stephen Twigg MP, Chair of the International Development Committee, that holds the Department for International Development to account, chaired the debate and highlighted the need to link the issue to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Erica was also joined on the panel by the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict and Foreign Office Minister, Baroness Anelay and Baroness Nicholson, Chair of the House of Lords Sexual Violence in Conflict Committee as well as General Gordon Messenger, Military Champion on Women, Peace and Security at the Ministry of Defence and Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department for International Development.  

Tim Pilkington, Chief Executive of World Vision UK thanked the participants of the debate. 

“It was wonderful to be joined by such an esteemed panel for this important event. For too long stigma has been almost absent from policy debates so it is great to see it at the forefront of discussions,” he said.

“I’m now really looking forward to following up with the Ministers and representatives to see how we can move the conversation forward and explore how children’s voices can be at the heart of a cross-governmental strategy to end sexual violence in conflict.”

For more information please contact Rob Henderson, Advocacy and Public Affairs Officer rob.henderson@worldvision.org.uk #NoShameJustice

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