Developing community responses and resources for women experiencing domestic violence in the Kings Cross area
The report is based on three months research into the potential of developing community responses to the widespread problem of domestic violence in the King’s Cross area. Data were gathered via a literature review, questionnaires and interviews involving local organisations, both statutory and voluntary, and individual women based in the area. The study sought to:
- document existing support networks, both formal and informal, in the King’s Cross area and assess the profile of women using these;
- assess different models of domestic violence community support networks and comment on their suitability (with adaptations where required) for use in the King’s Cross area;
- evaluate different models for raising community awareness about sensitive issues;
- establish a pilot support project for women experiencing domestic violence, in conjunction with local residents.
- There were no community groups within the designated study area that worked primarily on domestic violence.
- The local construction of, and focus on, the ‘problems of King’s Cross’ such as prostitution and drug abuse has resulted in a lack of attention being given to the more common problems of domestic violence and child abuse in the area, which tend to occur in the private rather than the public sphere.
- The majority of local community groups do attempt to offer support to women who disclose their experiences of violence, but few groups had any formal policy or training on how to respond appropriately to this issue.
- For these local groups, the factors necessary to improve responses to domestic violence locally were: better information and liaison between agencies; increased refuge space; increased support for women and the development of sessions/groups specifically on the issue of domestic violence.
- An overview of community-based models of response to domestic violence highlighted the importance of addressing this issue directly from within women’s own communities, and identified the elements of these various projects that might be relevant to developmental work in the Kings’ Cross area.
- There were found to be a number of factors in the King’s Cross area – such as the local fixation on ‘street crime’, the absence of women in prominent positions in community organisations and the lack of information about available resources for women – which served to explicitly or implicitly promote the view that domestic violence is not a key issue in this locality.
- A proposal for a pilot project for women in the King’s Cross area is provided containing the following elements: local public awareness raising on the issue of violence against women and children; self-defence classes and courses; activities and meetings around ‘women’s agendas’ in the local community; and public education sessions for women on the issue of domestic violence.
Internal Report: Whose Agenda, Whose Community? Exploring Community Responses and Resources for Women Experiencing Domestic Violence in the King’s Cross Area -An Internal Report
Sponsor: The Women’s Unit of Islington Council