Lancaster academic brings MPs together to discuss how to save women dying at the hands of men
Dr Anna Hopkins will join a cross-party panel she has brought together at a free webinar hosted by The Open University to discuss what more should be done to prevent gender-based violence.
One woman dies every three days at the hands of a man in the UK, and the panel will share ideas on how to achieve lasting change.
The event coincides with the international ‘16 Days of Activism campaign’, to tackle gender-based violence against women.
It runs from November 25, which coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, until December 10 – International Human Rights Day.
Joining them is bereaved mother Julie Aunger, whose daughter Katie Wilding was being supported by police officers specialising in domestic abuse when she passed away.
The webinar is being held on November 30 at 7.30pm and is chaired by Lancaster-based Dr Hopkins, a lecturer in Policing Organisation and Practice with the Faculty of Business and Law, and a former police officer.
She will be joined by Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips, Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding, Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, and party spokesperson for Justice, and Women and Equalities, Dr Shahrar Ali, the Green Party’s spokesperson for Policing and Domestic Safety and former Guildford MP The Rt Hon Anne Milton, who was Minister for Women in Theresa May’s government.
Dr Hopkins, who worked in domestic violence as a police officer and carries out research in the subject, said: “Too many women are losing their lives – one every three days is too many and those figures haven’t changed for a number of years. Men play the biggest role in causing all of this and a societal shift needs to happen.
“It is a really important debate. We must keep talking about it and I hope this panel discussion will crystalise some of the thoughts with these voices of influence so they can be shared across all political parties to provoke further discussion to deliver meaningful change.”
Katie Wilding was just 21 when she died in November 2016, when her and her ex-partner were found to have overdosed on drugs, although a coroner said their motives were unclear.
While Katie’s death has never been classified as a homicide, her mother, Julie, is certain that’s exactly what it was. She has thrown herself into campaigning to ensure other women do not suffer the same fate.
Julie said: “I will never believe Katie’s death was ‘for a reason’, but by talking to people, if we can get girls and women to think about their relationships and avoid a tragedy, then my actions will have achieved something. And what a legacy.”
Anna made national news last year by running for women murdered by domestic violence as part of the 16 days of activism.
And this year a host of events will be held in Lancaster, organised by Anna along with other women.
*An art exhibition by Lancaster Girls' Grammar School on the pupils’ interpretation of gender-based violence. To be shown at the Gregson Centre from November 25 until December 10, 11am until 11pm.
*Reclaim the Night march through Lancaster. Friday November 26 from 7pm, Dalton Square.
*Live music and dancing at the Gregson Centre in the Hall. Friday November 26, £5 on the door.
*A film to be shown at the Dukes on the topic of gender-based violence, with discussion to follow after the film. Monday November 29, 7.30pm.
*A panel session of practitioners discussing gender-based violence: Health, education, police, law, social services, third sector: Thursday December 2, 7.30pm. at the Olive Bar, Gregson Centre.
*A 5km run to raise awareness of domestic violence: Saturday December 4 at Williamson Park, Lancaster, at 2pm.