Black History Month, celebrated in the UK this October, is an important moment to learn more about Black history and heritage. It can also be an opportunity for your organisation to reflect on inequalities in the way survivors from Black and minority backgrounds are treated by authorities and the ways in which structural racism in our society can influence our own expectations and responses to domestic abuse.
Data from Refuge in 2021 showed that Black women were 14% less likely to be referred to Refuge for support by police than white survivors of domestic abuse. Refuge’s data also shows that during the pandemic, Black women supported by Refuge were 3% more likely to have experienced physical abuse and 4% more likely to have experienced sexual abuse than white survivors of abuse.
While Black History Month is a chance to raise awareness of these inequalities, it is vital to keep them front of mind year-round. It might be worth checking that you have policies and procedures in place which reflect different people's experiences and take racial inequalities into account.
There are several organisations working hard to challenge such injustice and these are brilliant resources where you can find out more:
Sistah Space is a grassroots organisation that was set up following the murder of Valerie Forde and her daughter by Valerie’s ex partner. Valerie had reported the threat to their life to the police, yet no safeguarding mechanisms were put in place to protect her or her child. Sistah Space is raising money for a specialist refuge for African and Caribbean heritage women and children affected by domestic and sexual abuse. Follow Sistah Space on twitter here and support their campaign here.
Southall Black Sisters offer specialist support, advocacy and information to Asian and Afro-Caribbean women suffering abuse.
Chayn supports survivors of abuse across borders and is trauma-informed, intersectional, multi-lingual and feminist. Chayn has an extensive resource section and connections with local services online.
Imkaan is the only UK based women's organisation dedicated to addressing violence against Black and Minoritised Women.