Monthly Archives: February 2013

Is your church responding?

It’s tomorrow. I fly out to New York.  As I sit here and prepare presentations and finish off last minute details, I’m thinking about how churches are responding to domestic abuse.

Churches can respond at many levels, from the simple putting up posters behind toilet doors, (see here for an example) displaying leaflets, to the coordination and cooperation with local Refuges. I was in Carlisle last week speaking to a couple of vicars who are planning an event in October. One of the vicars was undertaking training for churches on ending domestic abuse and linking in with local support networks and agencies. It was music to my ears. It was so encouraging to see and hear the passion and enthusiasm these church leaders showed towards their local community and town.

I know this is repeated many times over, but so often we don’t hear about what you are doing outside of the local area. So this is your chance. I want to hear what your local church is doing in response to domestic abuse and violence against women. No matter how small or big. Let me know. I will have a captive audience at the United Nations to tell others and share examples of what you are doing.

Get in touch via commenting on this blog or by email

I look forward to hearing from you

Thanks, Mandy


Draft Agreed Conclusions

Lots of work on the UN CSW takes place in advance to make the most of the time actually together at the CSW. Today the UK Government Equalities Office have sent a link to the draft agreed conclusions for the CSW. They can be accessed here


UN Language

These draft conclusions have already been under negotiation. Agreed UN language (helpful short 2 page guide can be found here is being negotiated to be kept at its current strength and not regressed. This is a key issue for a number of UK NGO’s after last years CSW failed to agree on a conclusion document. This was cited due to ‘conservative groups’. There has been strong background work undertaken this year to ensure that there are agreed conclusions this year.

I guess we will wait and see.


One week to go

One week today the UN Commission of the Status of Women will open. Opening with hearts full of hope, uncertainty, and excitement.

Hope that governments will put real focus and resources to prevent and end violence against women.

Hope that the media will play their part in highlighting the ongoing issue and the horrific global rates of abuse.

Hope that every person will realise its our responsibility.

Uncertainty whether there will be agreed conclusions as last year there were none.

Uncertainty whether the agreed rhetoric will transfer into action, resources and determination.

And excitement at meeting so many other people passionate about seeing violence ended and working tirelessly to bring this about.

Excitement about hearing of projects, programmes that work and the impact of lives transformed and changed.

In the final week of preparation, with presentations to prepare, I am praying that when I return, we will all play our part in raising awareness, transforming ourselves, our churches and our communities. Ever hopeful, certainly uncertain, but also excited that we can see an end to violence against women.

Prayer Points

The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) takes place from the 4th -15th March at the headquarters of the UN in New York. The UNCSW takes place each year reviewing governments’ progress on implementing the Beijing Platform for Action which outlines women’s rights globally. It is an excellent opportunity for civil society organisations to come together share experiences and learn from one another. The priority theme for 2013 is preventing and ending violence against women.

As the representative from the Church of England, I will be aiming to lobby our UK government, the EU and hopefully other governments from around the world, to actively include churches and Christian faith organisations in the prevention and response to ending violence against women. This includes hosting two parallel side events, one with the Anglican Communion, and another as Restored with the Mothers Union.

  • ‘We Will Speak Out: churches ending violence against women’ if the side event of the C of E with the AC taking place on Friday 8th March at 10:30am.
  • As Restored with the Mothers Union called ‘A relationship based approach to ending violence against women’ which will be on Thursday 14th March at 12:30pm. 

I will be linking in with the rest of the delegation from the Anglican Communion around the world (20 in total) bringing the Christian faith into the midst of the CSW. This will be balanced with linking with the UK civil society organisations (over 20 attending) and the UK government meetings taking place at the UK Mission to the UN each evening. There is also an Ambassadors reception on the first Tuesday, although I don’t think Ferrero Roche will be handed out, it’ll be a good networking opportunity.

The days will be long with briefings starting at 8am each day and the UK meetings starting at 6pm each evening usually finishing after 7pm. After this is its back to the accommodation to catch up with email, social media and report noting.

I would really appreciate prayer for the following:

  • Good relationships to be established with other Anglican representatives present for encouragement and mutual support
  • Positive engagement from the NGO’s represented towards Christian organisations as the response can be very mixed.
  • That the key messages (see previous post) are acted upon by the governments
  • That key resolutions and agreements will be made and implemented. Last year the final document was not agreed.
  • That the two side events will be positive, constructive, and encourage people to include the local church in the response to prevent and end violence against women.
  • For good health and safety whilst travelling.

You can follow progress via social media in the following ways:
Twitter: @UNCSWCofE

If you have any words, pictures, visions, prophecy, encouragement, thoughts whilst praying then please do email me them.

Thank you for joining in through prayer. It is very much appreciated
Mandy Marshall

Key Messages from the C of E to the UN Commission on the Status of Women

These key messages were formed in consultation with the Mission and Public Affairs Committee of the Church Of England.

The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW) taking place from the 4th – 15th March 2013 has a priority theme of preventing and ending violence against women. The CSW is a key lobbying opportunity for the Church of England to ensure key messages are included in agreed conclusions coming out of the session for governments to heed and implement.

Key Messages from the Church of England:

1. Strategically include Churches and Christian Faith Based organisations, especially the role of the local church, in addressing gender based violence (GBV) & violence against women and girls (VAWG) so as to develop a holistic and multi stakeholder response.

Asks governments to ensure capacity development at the local level in raising awareness alongside supporting survivors of violence. Noting that the church is often the point in the community where survivors turn for help and sometimes the only community service available. The Archbishops (and many Bishops) in the DRC, Rwanda and Burundi are already actively engaged in working through supporting survivors of violence linking with UNAIDS with support from the We Will Speak Out Coalition.  Church and faith communities have also been working together in Bosnia on the whole range of sexual violence. The church leadership at a national level needs to be informed on proposed actions to share with the local Bishops and churches so they can be prepared to support survivors of violence.

Note: There is diversity within national and local churches on certain issues surrounding women and girls. The Church of England has zero tolerance for violence against women and girls.

Example Resources: Restored has produced a pack for churches on ending domestic abuse

2. Challenging men’s attitudes and actions as well as including men in the response to work alongside women to end violence against women.

The Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) article 5 ‘requires State parties to modify social and cultural patterns of men and women to eliminate practices based on the idea of sex role stereotyping or the inferiority or superiority of either of the sexes’

a. Asks the UN to reaffirm the implementation of CEDAW and call on governments to actively pursue implementation of article 5.

Calls upon governments, churches, faith organisations, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and other relevant actors in civil society to undertake the following actions:

b. Encourage education and awareness raising of impact of sex-role stereotyping on the family and wider community of restricting every individual, both men and women, from realising their full potential in life and work to stop this stereotyping

c. Support men to prevent VAWG and challenging other men to stop violence

d. Educate, resource and support local church leaders on gender equality and preventing VAWG

e. Restore the balance of women and men working together for gender equality. Men working alongside women.

f. Recognise that men are victims of violence and need support services

g. Promote positive models of masculinities that embrace equality and foster gender justice

Restored’s First Man Standing Campaign asks men to respect all women, challenge other men’s attitudes and actions and join in the cause of ending violence against women by signing up to the White ribbon pledge.

3. Commit to Capacity development for local community organisations e.g the church

The Church of England supports the UK Foreign Secretary’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI)that  will further enable women to choose whether to go forward with prosecutions.

Asks governments to support  local community organisations and churches to be trained and equipped to respond to stand alongside and support survivors of violence. Noting that there are community organisations and NGO’s already working in this area that could train locally or nationally given the resources to do this.

Noting that the Church of England is committed to developing a culture of openness in the churches to combat impunity, challenge stigma, shame and silence around the issues of violence against women and girls, recognising that violence against women and girls needs to be addressed within the church.

4. Address the wider issue of objectification and commodification of women & gender inequality

One of the underlying causes of sexual violence is treating women as sex objects and not as equals. The Church of England calls on governments to implement their commitments under CEDAW, the Convention for the Elimination for all forms of Discrimination Against Women, especially article 5 which ‘requires State parties to modify social and cultural patterns of men and women to eliminate practices based on the idea of sex role stereotyping or the inferiority or superiority of either of the sexes’.

5. End impunity for perpetrators by enforcing legal frameworks and training the judiciary and national police

Asks governments to,

a. Create, where necessary, legislation outlawing all forms of VAWG in the private and public spheres including harmful traditional practices

b. Ensure survivors of violence have safe & fair access to justice

c. Ensure survivors are actively supported throughout the justice system

d. Ensure convictions are implemented in line with the law and judgement given

6. Ensure proper, safe provision for survivors of violence

Urges governments to,

a. Provide proper, safe, support and fund programmes to support survivors of violence

b. Provide accessible information in the appropriate language or accessible communication method on how survivor’s can access support and justice

c. Ensure that all involved in enforcement of the law are fully sensitised and trained in handling issues of VAWG

7. Ensure the education system mainstreams the equal value and worth of boys and girls throughout the schools system.

Requests governments to,

a. Educate boys and girls at an early age on the equality and dignity of all human beings as laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

b. Conduct age appropriate classes on healthy relationships and conducting healthy relationships

b. Education on what violence is, how to identify it, make positive choices and get help when things go wrong.

8. Establish baseline data on levels of and types of violence against women and girls in order to identify the scale of the problem and fill the gaps in data where they currently exist.
Recognising the work already undertaken under the UN Secretary General’s database on violence against women and girls and the UNiTE campaign, calls on governments to record and publish data on violence against women and girls.

9. Encourage governments, private sector, faith organisations, civil society and other actors, to support the UK’s Foreign Secretary’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and end impunity for perpetrators within their own nation states.
Requests governments to

  1. Ensure that local and national churches and faith based organisations are included in the response.
  2. Implement CEDAW
  3. Implement a programme of cultural change to ensure the equal value of women, men, boys and girls.

10. Address the issue of shame based violence (so called Honour-Based Violence) on a national level.
Urges governments to

a. Provide appropriate services for survivors of shame based violence

b. Address the shame based practices that lead to violence against women and girls

c. Work with local and national faith based organisations in the response to shame based violence


What are your thoughts on these key messages?

Is there anything you would have liked to have seen included?

Do any of these questions resonate with your local church?