The end violence against women and girls coalition have put together a helpful guide for campaign activists. The Content of the guide is featured below. Bristol Zero Tolerance have added information relevant to Bristol, for example links to Bristol Women’s Voice Hustings.
What is this guide for?
On 8 June 2017 we will all elect our local MPs and a new Government will be formed. It is important that all candidates know that violence against women and girls is a problem in their area, and that as an MP they would have a lot of power to change law and policy in this area. This guide gives you advice on locating your local MP candidates and what to say to them, and other suggested actions to take in the run up to election day. If you get a response from the person who goes on to be elected, you could continue to communicate with them after polling day about work in this area.
Actions: What can I do to press candidates to take a stance on violence against women?
What should I ask candidates for election?
At the end of this Guide is a Template Letter/Email which you could cut and paste and send or candidates, and add in anything specific which is important to you. Broadly, we want all candidates to promise to use their powers to help end violence against women and girls – but the more specific we can make it, the better.
Our template letter suggests asking candidates whether, if elected, they will work to:
What should I do with any reply I get?
In the run up to the election, whilst candidates are still campaigning, it would be great to share any major points (things you are happy or disappointed about) on social media. This can encourage other candidates to take a stance too. You may wish to tell one candidate that another has made a certain commitment to encourage healthy competition! Most candidates have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts (more below).
If you copy any response you get to us, we can also help share it – for example on our Twitter (@EVAWuk), Facebook and on our website. Email us at: email@example.com putting General Election in the subject box, if you want to share any comments or letters.
And, keep any replies you get and after the elections hold successful candidates to account for their promises.
If elected @[address of candidate] will you speak out on violence against women and girls? #GE2017
If elected @[address of candidate] will you work to end the postcode lottery of support services for women facing abuse? #GE2017
If elected @[address of candidate] will you work to improve the police and courts’ response to abuse of women and girls? #GE2017
If elected @[address of candidate] will you push to have GPs and hospitals get better at detecting abuse? #GE2017
If elected @[address of candidate] will you ensure women’s rights are protected during Brexit negotiations? #GE2017
CANDIDATES’ CONTACT DETAILS: How do I locate my local MP candidates and where do I send my letter / email?
At time of writing in early May 2017 the political parties have selected most but not quite all of their candidates for local constituencies.
If you are starting totally from scratch begin by checking what constituency you live in by entering your postcode here:
If you want to read around a bit about your constituency you can do so here where there are useful facts including who won last time and how big their vote was. **This is important if you don’t have much time and want to be quite targeted – it will show you who the leading candidates are and you could decide to write only to the two or three candidates most likely to win. Political betting websites can also be a good source of information on what might happen: http://news.ladbrokes.com/politics
After 11 May, your local council website should have details of those who are standing for election in the local constituencies (many councils will have two or more MP constituencies in their boundaries). It is usually in a section visible on the home page called something like, ‘Council and Democracy’.
Once you have the name and party, you can Google them and for many you should find a campaign website (and/or Facebook page) which has either contact details including email, or an online form where you can cut and paste and submit an email. Look them up directly on Facebook and Twitter too and see how much they are interacting there.
In addition, the political parties themselves are now listing most if not all of their candidates:
You can search here by constituency.
You can search here by constituency.
Scottish National Party
You can sort here by constituency.
For candidates from smaller and regional parties and for independent candidates please check local information.
TEMPLATE LETTER/EMAIL TO MP CANDIDATES:
[NAME OF CANDIDATE]
Parliamentary Candidate for [NAME OF CONSTITUENCY], [PARTY]
By letter / By email
I write as a local resident in advance of the election on 8 June 2017 to draw your attention to the scale of violence against women and girls in our community, and to ask you to pledge that if elected you will take action on this.
Sadly, there are very high levels of violence against women and girls in our society. There are almost half a million sexual assaults, including 85,000 rapes, in England and Wales every year. There are more than a million calls to the police related to domestic violence. More hidden crimes including child sexual exploitation, forced marriage, FGM, trafficking and abuse of women in prostitution are known to happen in every police force area. Men and boys suffer some of these forms of abuse too, but it is very disproportionately women and girls who are victims.
As well as the human impact, which is felt by whole families, these crimes are very costly to our health service, our criminal justice system and to employers. I believe it is essential that whoever is elected MP for NAME OF AREA is knowledgeable about this and pledges to work to change law and policy in this area.
If elected as our local MP, will you:
Many thanks for your attention to these important questions and I look forward to hearing from you soon. I will share any answer I receive from you with family and friends and possibly on social media.
If you want help or advice, call or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org or 07960 744 502 or @EVAWuk . We are a small organisation but will try to get back to you asap. We will also put regular updates on our website at http://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/ and will tweet non-stop @EVAWuk