The Jersey Independent Taskforce on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) has announced the publication of their research findings and recommendations, which uncover the harsh reality of violence against women and girls in the Island.
This comprehensive report is a result of in-depth research, bringing together the experiences of victim-survivors, young people, professionals, and the broader public in Jersey to shed light on a critical issue, many aspects of which have long remained in the shadows. It represents a significant milestone in Jersey’s commitment to addressing violence against women and girls.
The VAWG Taskforce is made up of a diverse range of stakeholders who all hold a key role in addressing violence against women and girls in Jersey. It includes representatives from specialist support services, criminal justice, health and social care, education, and community support services.
The Taskforce has revealed alarming statistics and testimony from victim-survivors, young people and the general public that demands immediate attention.
Nearly all respondents to the public survey reported having experienced at least one form of sexual harassment in their lifetime. One in four respondents had undergone the ordeal of rape or attempted rape.
The Independent Chair of the Taskforce, Kate Wright said:
“This report is a shocking revelation of the extent and nature of violence experienced by women and girls in Jersey. I wish to thank those brave victim-survivors who have endured painful abuse and trauma yet chose to share their experiences to help us understand and confront these serious issues head-on.
“It is testament to the courage of our daughters, sisters, mothers, partners, friends, and colleagues who have endured unthinkable violence, abuse, harassment or been failed by our systems that should have protected them. By giving a voice to their experiences, we hope to spark a wave of change that will lead to real and lasting transformation.”
The report exposes significant gaps in Jersey’s current legislation which make it more difficult for the criminal justice system to protect victim-survivors and effectively manage perpetrators.
It underscores the necessity of independent reviews of Jersey’s criminal justice system and family court to build transparency and accountability.
The Taskforce has laid out clear and specific recommendations for change, including the need to address immigration policies that can compound the violence experienced by women who have not resided on the Island for five years.
It also highlights the urgent need for specialist counselling support for victim-survivors, which is currently extremely limited and detrimental to their long-term recovery.
In instances where these recommendations are not adopted, the Taskforce insists on a public explanation for this inaction, along with alternative proposals for action.
Such transparency is crucial for building public trust and confidence in the commitment of Jersey’s institutions to tackling violence against women and girls.
Kate Wright added:
“The findings of this report are a wake-up call to issues that affect many women and girls and that we can no longer ignore. As a community, we have a moral obligation to address these issues swiftly and decisively. To achieve the aims of the Taskforce, it was essential that the voices of women and girls should be at the centre of our work and that these voices were listened to without prejudice.
“Women and girls deserve to feel safe no matter where they are, whether that be at their place of education or at work, in public spaces, at home or online. However, the Taskforce’s research shows that this is not the reality for many women and girls in Jersey.”
The report represents the beginning of a much larger piece of work to address the issues of violence against women and girls in Jersey and prioritise the safety of women and girls across the Island.