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16 Days of Action Against Domestic Abuse

Bedfordshire Calender of Events for 16 Days of Action

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What is the 16 days campaign about?

16 Days of Action against Gender-based Violence (GBV) is an international campaign to challenge violence and abuse, especially against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25th November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10th December, Human Rights Day. Every year community and voluntary groups across Bedfordshire join the global campaign to raise awareness of, and help bring an end to, all forms of gender violence.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the global 16 Days Campaign.

What is gender based violence?

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a form of hate crime and refers to physical (or other forms of) violence that takes place because of the gender of the victim. It usually refers to violent acts primarily or exclusively committed against women or girls.

“One in three women will experience violence in her lifetime. Her experience will deprive her of human rights, put her at risk of mental and physical health problems, and potentially trap her in poverty”

GBV includes rape, sexual assault, intimate partner violence in both heterosexual and same sex relationships, sexual harassment, stalking, sex trafficking and prostitution. It also includes other harmful practices towards women and girls; such as female genital mutilation (FGM), the practice of cutting or removing the external female genitalia without medical justification or consent.

The use of violence against women is considered both a cause and a consequence of inequality between men and women in today’s society and costs the lives of women and girls every day across the world. In the UK alone, on average, a woman is killed by a man every three days.

According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) year ending March 2020, of crimes recorded by the police between the year ending March 2017 and the year ending March 2019, 77% of victims of domestic homicide were female compared with 13% of victims of non-domestic homicide.

What does the 16 days campaign mean for us in Bedfordshire?

Every year community and voluntary groups across Bedfordshire join the campaign to raise awareness of gender-based violence and domestic abuse in any and all of its forms.

The campaign’s theme this year is “from awareness to accountability” and in this 30th anniversary year the global campaign will aim to concentrate attention on the issue of femicide; the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender. In line with previous year’s campaign activities the campaign will also be focusing on the link between domestic abuse and the world of work.

Across Bedfordshire there will be a range of activities and events happening to raise awareness of the devastating impact that all forms of gender-based violence (GBV) have on all of us; whether it’s a friend, family member or colleague at work, with 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men experiencing some form of domestic abuse during their lifetime; we will all know someone affected by GBV.

Gender-based violence, including domestic abuse, really is ‘everyone’s business’ and throughout the 16 days campaign this year we will hope to get this message into every corner of the county and ensure that anyone experiencing abuse or violence feels empowered to reach out and ask for help and support.

Just as importantly we want to ensure that anyone who sees, hears or recognises abuse in their community feels confident to offer their support to those affected, and if in a position to do so, challenge the unhealthy or harmful behaviours.

We hope that there will be something for everyone to get involved in this year. With everything from a community event to highlight the number of women who have lost their lives as a result of male violence, to the launch of our joint High Sheriff of Bedfordshire and BDAP annual recognition awards scheme for those working with individuals and families affected by domestic abuse. We will also be relaunching the BDAP Safe Spaces scheme, which promotes that certain places in our local communities can offer a safe space for someone who needs to access support with an unhealthy or abusive relationship.

To find out more about what’s happening near you follow @bedsdv on our social media and look out for tags #BDAP #16daysofaction #TooManyNames.

Projects in Bedfordshire


During International Women’s Day every year Jess Phillips MP reads aloud (in Parliament) the list of women killed by men for the previous 12 month period. The names of these women are those collated and published by Karen Ingala Smith’s ‘counting dead women’ project. The 16 days campaign is 30 years old this year and will also focus on femicide: the issue of “the gender-related killing of women.”

Inspired both by these events and the recent well publicised murders of women by men, including those of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa; we have decided to organise our own local event #TooManyNames, to honour the 135 women who lost their lives through male violence over the last year across the UK.

Our #TooManyNames supporters will be drawn from a wide range of groups from across our Bedfordshire communities and will include professionals, volunteers and survivors to ensure our message will reach across all ages, genders, abilities and backgrounds.

Our group of supporters will join together with the aim of raising awareness and highlighting the issue of violence against women and girls. Our aim is to have one #TooManyNames supporter representing each woman whose life has been lost as a result of male violence.

All are welcome to join us for this community event which will commence around 10:45am and will be timed to end at 11:00am on Friday 26th November 2021.  The event will be followed by the observance of a minute of silence marked by Luton’s Town Hall clock.

Our supporters will gather at the end of George Street in Luton adjacent to the Crown Court on the raised pedestrianised area. The event will be introduced by Caroline Cook, CEO at Luton All Women’s Centre.

There will also be information about local and national support available on the day for anyone affected by gender violence issues.

We want to send a strong and clear message that addressing gender violence is everyone’s business and that no one individual or organisation can tackle the issue alone.

#TooManyNames Flyer and Instructions

Support Services

BDAP & High Sheriff Domestic Abuse Recognition Awards

The Bedfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership and the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire launches their annual Domestic Abuse Recognition Awards scheme during this year’s 16 Days of Action against Gender Violence Campaign.

The awards, which were originally launched during the first COVID lockdown in 2020, aim to recognise the amazing contributions made by the many organisations, teams and individuals working with, or for those affected by any aspect of domestic abuse, across Bedfordshire.

Nominees could be an individual, a team or a whole service. They could be a professional or a volunteer working hard to support families and children affected by domestic abuse or they could be a service or a project team making a difference to their service users every day. Maybe they challenge people to change their abusive behaviours or empower survivors to cope and recover from what has happened to them. Nominees may never think about the impact that their actions and words have had or the difference they have made to the people they have supported.

Whatever they do for those affected by domestic abuse and wherever they do it in Bedfordshire, we would like to know about it. The deadline for nominations is 31 Dec 2021, after this date our awards panel, drawn from the membership of the Bedfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership (BDAP), will choose nominees to receive extra special thanks and recognition. Each special nominee will receive a certificate of recognition on behalf of the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire and the BDAP.

All our chosen nominees (of any age, gender or background) will be announced in the New Year and with their permission we will publish their achievements on social or other media.

“If someone has made a difference to you, or to those affected by abuse, maybe now you can help us make a difference to them!”

Anyone can make a nomination. All nominations should be sent, by 31 December 2021 to:

Nominations should include the name and contact details of the person making the nomination as well as full name and a contact telephone number or email for the person or team they are nominating.  We also need to know the reason for the nomination; this should include what it is that they do that makes such a difference and why they deserve to be recognised for their work.

What should I do if domestic abuse is happening to me or somebody I know?

No-one should live in fear of someone else in their life and when that person is a partner, spouse, boy or girlfriend, family member or an ex-partner, we recognise how difficult it is to acknowledge what is happening and how impossible it may seem to think about getting help to end the abuse.

Anyone can be affected by domestic abuse, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, ability or background. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) year ending March 2020 and estimated  7.3% of women (1.6 million) and 3.6% of men (757,000) experienced domestic abuse in the last year.

For anyone feeling isolated, confused or scared of the consequences of telling someone else what is happening to them at home; silence might seem like the safest answer. This is why it is vital that anyone experiencing these issues is aware that there are people that care and will listen to their concerns, without blame or judgement and that there is both practical help and emotional support waiting for anyone affected by domestic abuse or unhealthy control in their relationship.

Our message to anyone feeling locked in by abuse or control is that they are not alone. We hope that, throughout this year’s 16 days campaign, they may feel empowered to reach out to someone they trust and break their silence – whether that’s a friend, family member, neighbour, colleague or a professional.

Your safety and the safety of your children is our priority across Bedfordshire. Reach out for support; you will find it waiting for you with the many local and national specialist domestic abuse services. There is a list of national and local services on the Get Help page of this website.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger then please always call 999.

Other useful information

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021

Earlier this year the UK government introduced the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 which gives police, local authorities and the courts, wider powers and greater accountability in relation to protecting victims of domestic abuse and their children. The Act aims to raise awareness and understanding about the devastating impact of domestic abuse on victims and their families whilst further improving the effectiveness of the justice system in providing protection for victims of domestic abuse and bringing perpetrators to justice.

Clare’s Law

Clare’s Law’ otherwise known as the domestic violence disclosure scheme allows you or a concerned person to ask the police about the information they hold on an individual in relation to domestic abuse offences and convictions. Contact your local police to find out more, including how to make an on-line Clare’s Law request

Bright sky

The bright sky app is a mobile app that is free to download and provides advice and information for anyone experiencing domestic abuse.

Hollie guard

Hollie guard is a mobile app that is free to download and acts as a personal safety plan allowing you to share your location, record evidence, make emergency contact and much more.