Refuge attends Prime Minister’s event to celebrate International Women’s Day


The Prime Minister will host a special reception to celebrate International Women’s Day at Downing Street later today (Wednesday 8 March).

Men and women have been invited from all over the UK and from a range of sectors – including business, the public sector, law, the arts, charities and community groups.

This comes as the Prime Minister announced a new £5 million fund to help women returning to work after a long career break and a further £20 million to support survivors of domestic abuse – as set out in the Chancellor’s Budget today.

Among those attending the reception is Sandra Horley CBE – Chief Executive of domestic violence charity Refuge.

Caroline Haughey a criminal barrister at Furnival Chambers who specialises in human trafficking and modern slavery will also attend. Caroline conducted the review into the effectiveness of the criminal justice provisions in the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and sits on the Prime Minister’s modern slavery task force.

Brothers Ben and Oliver Black have also been invited to mark the significance of the day. Their business My Family Care works with firms to help them support employees who have childcare or other caring responsibilities. Big and small firms across the UK have signed up for their family-friendly services, which include providing emergency childcare and care for employees, and maternity coaching for employers.

Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“I am pleased to be hosting a reception in Downing Street today to celebrate International Women’s Day.  In every sphere – be it sport, music, industry or the charitable sector – we see people working hard to create opportunities for other women and for the next generation as well.

“I’m proud of the progress that we have made so far – we have more women on the boards of our biggest companies, more women in parliament, the lowest gender pay gap on record and we have more women in work than ever before.

“But there is always more to do to drive out inequality and give everyone the opportunity to go as far as their talents will take them – regardless of their gender.

“And I am confident in the knowledge that every woman and man here today will be playing their part in making this happen.”

Sandra Horley, CBE, chief executive of Refuge, said:

“Refuge is delighted to be celebrating International Women’s Day with the Prime Minister at Downing Street.

“Theresa May has been a champion for victims of domestic violence for many years, first as Home Secretary and now as Prime Minister; her plan to bring forward a Domestic Violence and Abuse Act further demonstrates her commitment to addressing a crime that kills two women every single week.

“As the country’s largest provider of specialist domestic violence services, Refuge will ensure the voices of abused women and children are front and centre of the Prime Minister’s new Act – and that domestic violence remains high on the political agenda.”

Domestic violence fund:

Building on her commitment to bringing forward a Domestic Violence and Abuse Act, the Prime Minister will today confirm an additional £20 million to support organisations working to tackle domestic violence and abuse – money that will also support vulnerable victims. This increases total funding for the Government’s Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy to over £100 million in this Parliament.

Commenting on the new funding, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“Tackling domestic violence and abuse is a key priority for this Government. I attach a personal importance to this issue, through my time as Home Secretary and now as Prime Minister. Our work in Government has the potential to completely transform the way we think about and tackle domestic violence and abuse. There are currently thousands of people across Britain who are reading this right now and who suffer at the hands of abusers. I know they feel isolated and do not know where to turn for help. Raising awareness as well as strengthening the law will prove crucial in the fight against this life shattering and abhorrent crime”.

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Image: photography credit Wilson Hui/Creative Commons