Campaign to advocate speaking up

by Reena Sonigra in United Kingdom

Campaign to advocate speaking up

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£1,000 target 53 days left
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This project will only be funded if at least £1,000 is pledged by 16th September 2024 at 6:22pm

To help people speak up and reduce the numbers of unnecessary deaths occurring here in the UK.

by Reena Sonigra in United Kingdom

I am writing to ask you as British citizens, business owners, lawyers, accountants, or whatever profession you are in to help advocate speaking up, talking outside of legal proceedings especially criminal proceedings but advocate civil legal proceedings to prevent unnecessary deaths and harm within communities.  It is my understanding that there is enough provisions already in existence yet despite this, domestic abuse murders and suicides where there is no record of people ever appearing to have asked for help appears to be the norm.  There is on average an unnecessary death every three days here in the UK.

A total of 242 domestic abuse related deaths were recorded between April 2022 to March 2023, including:

  • 93 suspected victim suicide following domestic abuse
  • 80 intimate partner homicides
  • 31 adult family homicides
  • 23 unexpected deaths
  • 11 child deaths
  • 4 ‘other’ deaths (individuals living together who are not family members or intimate partners)

 

The solution is for people within communities especially those which are hard to reach is to advocate speaking up and seeking help.

It’s as simple as proactively working with the police and local charities. There’s safer neighbourhood policing teams which can help to mediate, offer solutions, speak to people, speak to communities, well the list is endless.   

As a citizen if you agree with the premise of tackling issues through conversation and using existing resources which are already readily available could you contact your local police station, your GP practice or even your local fire station and let them know you are supporting my campaign? Just show them this post and ask them to note your support to advocate speaking up in the community.

As a business owner or professional could you on letter-headed paper advocate your business supports this campaign? The premise is advocating civil litigation it’s possible the notion of this isn’t understood as an option.  How many times do you send written correspondence for a conversation or to action a request?  If you are employed if you could ask your employer first, I wouldn’t want you to get into trouble for supporting this campaign and me speaking up.  If you could email this to [email protected].  I am hoping it will go some way towards giving people the confidence to speak up. If you could assist with supporting people in communities to speak up, that would be of immense help if you could email me to let me know what support you could offer that would be extremely helpful too.  

If you’re still in education could you let your educational establishment know about this and ask them to advocate it?

If you are from a community where you are aware of issues which could do with police support could you contact the police, your GP or a local fire station? Your support counts the most.

If you could also contribute to a crowdfunding campaign if you are able to support this campaign. It doesn’t have to be much. The numbers of people reporting to the emergency services and issuing support through advocating on letter-headed paper might be enough to encourage people to speak up, while the numbers of people contributing financially might be enough to bring about the confidence for people to be advocates within their communities.

If you are an emergency services responder, government employee or regulatory personnel could you report to your employer that you would be willing to support this campaign alongside your normal duties of course.  To public service senior management, I’ve asked from a lot of places, in the hope that it doesn’t deplete human resources on key services, so if you are unable to release employees for this campaign it shouldn’t be a problem.

It is my own experience, that just raising concerns and asking initial questions within communities I grew up around regarding weddings, gender equality and combating domestic abuse led to criminal allegations, recommendations to check into the nearest mental health ward and verbally violent levels of abuse which included threats to my life. Suggesting the possibility of what I call a very narrow margin in some communities to even raise a concern or ask for help.

There is in my network alone, on average one unnecessary death every two years since the well-publicised murder of Annie Dewani. In the last quarter of 2022 that number was two; a domestic abuse murder and a suicide. Within the twelve month period from September 2022 that figure was three if the death of Sara Sherif (the 10 year old whose family fled the country) is considered.  While police figures show an unnecessary death occurs every three days.   

Despite all the negative reactions, through my own research I found in many communities individuals open to discussion and explaining both improvements which have occurred over time and concerns with societal norms.  Some of the issues raised were; arrange marriage, relationships, female genital mutilation, dowry, stress and even overcoming challenges of advocating progressive attitudes such as being able to choose your own partner but not knowing how to deal with challenges arising from this to just children being excited to be interviewed about tackling bullying.  Most of these issues mentioned can and have led to unnecessary deaths and preventable harm which can be tackled. It is my opinion that if children are this excited to speak up, finding ways to encourage this can only be a good thing.   

Arrange marriage is a contentious topic has been well-publicised through films like “Bend It Like Beckham” where football is now a stable financially viable sport for women as Gurinda Chada herself says yet the issues highlighted in her film seem to still be prevalent and “What’s love got to do with it?” which really brings to the for the concept of love at first sight and differences in South Asian countries and here in the UK which Jemima Khan has spoken up about to “East is East” and “Little English” which cover varying levels of domestic abuse or even “Polite Society” which brings to life stereotypes and female empowerment in a way which even the most stone hearted person should melt a little. While some people might be comfortable with the arrange marriages they are in and the practices surrounding it, the premise of my work is to prevent unnecessary deaths and unnecessary harm through conversation if the issues resonate maybe they can be discussed further, advice sought to manage situations given the statistic of an unnecessary death every three days here in the UK.  

However as an individual it is hard to tackle this at times in a manner which there might be enough of a dent in communities to tackle societal norms around domestic abuse to prevent unnecessary deaths and harm. It is my opinion that the issue is with finding a place to speak up. If we can advocate that to be within communities with the help of police, relevant charities, local government and community leaders we might be able to reduce these numbers and socially accept conversation to advocate seeking help and speaking up.

It is my opinion that there are more people who advocate preventing harm than there is resisting it.  While some do not know how to tackle the issues, others do not want to be the one who opens a can of worms within their communities, or feels equipped enough to tackle the issue. Whatever the reason it is also my opinion that openly advocating discussion might make this request to use taxpayers’ funds worthwhile, possibly help to improve perceptions of local authorities and overcome unnecessary deaths.

In recent times I understood just how challenging it is to be emergency response, government employee, regulatory and compliance personnel here as I spoke up myself.

The country’s compliance and regulation is a benchmark a standard of sorts, helps to keep organisations and communities operating sustainably through things like trading standards, people safe with health and safety benchmarks.  Civil enforcement officers aim to ensure the little things are in check and that people are safe.  While the premise of MP’s is to be able to raise concerns regarding the big things which aren’t right.  The middle ground is for conversation, debate, civil action and crucially developing and growing. Sometimes this is just banter, a meeting or just conversation, other times its civil litigation and conversations with the law. Yes it’s very daunting at times, but through conversation we can learn.  Oh we aren’t a big fan of wasting time, but if it’s important and it matters, care and attention is offered.

With this in mind, our MP’s are now wearing bullet proof vests.  Some hospitals now operate accident and emergency wards from behind bullet proof glass. While civil enforcement officers working in communities are often harassed for just speaking to members of the public, this I witnessed myself!  Upon asking where civil enforcement officers go to use toilet facilities in areas known to be challenging they need to have identified the nearest well known businesses such as fast food joints or restaurants of mainstream kind.  

Our prisons are full and court hearings are being scheduled with lengthy delays and sometimes for the silliest of things while civil approaches using conversation are resisted.   This work is being offered by police forces up and down the country and has been in place for some time already, yet it appears take up is often resisted or not a priority.  

However if enough people advocate my campaign it might just be enough.

Many citizens are able to have a conversation about all manner of things such as living abroad or careers yet won’t have a conversation to address issues at the point of feeling being hurt or harmed?!  And to ask a couple of questions on gender equality and domestic abuse results in responses which if I was a parent of an emergency responder might be horrified to know.   A parent of anyone working in the support services sector might be horrified to know and as someone with a career in National Government what I do know is the strength is takes to be parents, relatives and family of serving personnel.

If I may say so myself things might need to change.

The request isn’t an expensive initiative, but just asking to advocate using the services which already exist, the funds which need to be raised aren’t huge sums of money but enough to encourage people to speak up so whether its 1000 people or 10,000 people pledging just a £1.00 each would go a long way just to highlight the support there is to speak up.

It is with this ask you as British citizens, business owners, lawyers, accountants, or whatever profession you are in to help advocate speaking up.

As a citizen if you agree could you contact your local police station, your GP practice or even your local fire station?  

As a business owner or professional could you on letter-headed paper advocate your business supports this campaign?  If you’re still in education could you let your educational establishment know about this and ask them to advocate it? After all it is a form of education.

If you could also contribute to a crowdfunding campaign if you are able to, the funds will go towards delivering the programme of work and subsidise any taxpayers’ funds which might be needed. It doesn’t have to be much. The numbers of people reporting to the emergency services and issuing support through advocating on letter-headed paper might be enough to encourage people to speak up, while the numbers of people contributing financially might be enough to bring about the confidence to be advocates within their communities.

Any efforts you can offer to ask others, to take part to advocate speaking up would be immensely appreciated. If you are able to ask three people those three people could encourage nine more people and each of those asking three people would lead to twenty seven more people being informed, just to advocate speaking up.

You never know five minutes of your time and your contribution to reduce unnecessary deaths might be the effort which breaks the numbers from one unnecessary death every three days to people speaking up to just understanding what might be harmful or what hurt a person as they speak up, to just being able to have conversations to tackle issues as they arise.

Thank you for taking the time to read.

A British citizen looking to advocate jibber jabber for all things nonsensical…

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