Sikh Women’s Aid has released the first ever report that looks to evidence and examine the prevalence and impact of domestic and sexual violence in the Sikh/Panjabi community. The report is based on an anonymous survey that was circulated amongst the Sikh/Panjabi community in the Summer of 2021 and closed with 674 respondents.
The report was formally launched at their inauguration conference titled ‘From Her Kings are Born – Sikh Women’s Aid Conference which took place at the Tally Ho Conferencing Suite in Birmingham on Tuesday 23rd November 2021.
Guest speakers included Dame Vera Baird QC, The Victims Commissioner for England and Wales and also Nicole Jacobs, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales. The conference was opened by the first ever Victim’s Commissioner for the West Midlands, Nicola Brennan.
When examining the data, co-founder Sukhvinder Kaur said, ‘The initial purpose of the survey was to effectively inform and plan our own service delivery with the needs of victims at the forefront and there was no real intent to publish our findings. However, we were alarmed at how high the statistics were and we realised very quickly that we had no option but to publish the findings because for us, the statistics highlighted that there is a need for more specialist and targeted support for Sikh/Panjabi victims of abuse. This service needs to be culturally sensitive and competent, and delivered alongside a robust program of education and awareness so victims can identify what is happening to them and get help.’
Service Lead for Sikh Women’s Aid and sector lead Sahdaish Pall BEM added, ‘The Sikh/Panjabi Community is recognised as a giving and caring community who never fall short of stepping up and supporting those that are in need and are vulnerable, so we do not underestimate the responsibility we have in tackling such a sensitive subject by presenting our findings. Especially when a significant part of the community is very much in denial about the extent of the problem when dealing with domestic and sexual violence committed against adults and children. Shame and honour play a huge role in this denial. We simply need to acknowledge and accept that in every society that exists, there is a demographic of perpetrators who cause harm to others, and the Sikh/Panjabi community is no exception to this.’
Alongside the report, Sikh Women’s Aid has launched a song and music video called ‘Settle the Score’ to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls and the start of the 16 days of activism. The song, which was supported by international Reggae artist Apache Indian and music video filmed by Cookies Production, gives a gritty, reality based insight into the horrors of domestic abuse whilst interweaving themes of love, fear, hope and healing.