On the 15th of June 2022, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan unveiled a new Violence Against Women & Girls (VAWG) strategy with prevention at the heart of its new public health approach.

Cafes, dry cleaners, libraries, pubs, gyms, beauticians, and other everyday venues across London are being encouraged to be part of the mayor’s ‘whole society’ approach to tackling violence against women and girls. Approximately £18m of additional investment from City Hall will be spent on specialist services to improve support for victims and survivors, tackle the behaviour of perpetrators and better educate the public on the help they can provide.

Across London, night-time venues, universities, and restaurants are joining the mayor’s ‘have a word’ campaign urging men to call out and reject sexism and misogyny, which if left unchecked or unchallenged can lead to abuse and violence towards women and girls. McDonalds, The Roundhouse, Ministry of Sound, the O2, University of Greenwich, and University of London are among leading venues across the capital joining the campaign. Partners will help get this message directly to men through messages on mirrors in men’s bathrooms and spaces, encouraging all men to ‘have a word’ with themselves and then their mates.

Hestia’s Head of Domestic Abuse Prevention, Sue Harper said:

“We welcome the preventative, inclusive and ambitious approach to eradicating Violence Against Women & Girls, which places responsibility for the abuse with the perpetrator and understands that tackling abuse is everyone’s business requiring a whole society approach. I am particularly encouraged by acknowledgement of the need to rebuild confidence in the criminal justice system, the need for education at all levels in shifting public attitudes to Violence Against Women & Girls, and the roles of new partners such as McDonalds and the University of London.

However, although I applaud these partnership approaches, I am slightly disappointed there is not more of an emphasis on the role of employers and hope this will be given higher profile in the future. Around 2.3 million adults experience domestic abuse every year in England and Wales, meaning it’s likely that someone in all organisations will experience it. When employers take action to respond, it can really make a difference.”

Hestia have been working with partners such as HSBS UK, Boots UK, TSB, Superdrug, Morrisons, Well pharmacies and independent pharmacies establishing UK Says No More’s Safe Spaces initiative in over 6,000 locations across the country. Victims of domestic abuse can use the space to seek anonymous support services.