CWASU – Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit's work to achieve policy changes

Experts urge action on violence against women and children during COVID-19, 2020

The Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU), part of London Met's School of Social Sciences, has contributed to a new briefing document asking the UK government to take urgent action to prevent violence against women and children during COVID-19. The briefing from the End Violence Against Women (EVAW) coalition outlines how the crisis creates a conducive context for all forms of violence against women and children to flourish and escalate. 

Read more in our Exploring the links between extremism and violence against women news story.

Contributing to the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse, 2018

The Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit has today published a report as part of their contribution to the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). Titled Deflection, Denial and Disbelief: Social and Political Discourses about Child Sexual Abuse and their Influence on Institutional Responses, the research was undertaken by Jo Lovett, Senior Research Fellow at CWASU, Dr Maddy Coy, former Deputy Director of CWASU and Professor Liz Kelly, Director of CWASU. The report identifies key discussions on child sexual abuse in England and Wales from the 1940s to 2017 and how these ideas have influenced the way institutions have responded to it.

Read more in our Contributing to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse news story.

A long-standing partnership with Surviving Economic Abuse, "financial abuse" seeded in CWASU and now part of recent domestic abuse bill

The Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit’s long-standing relationship with the charity Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA) contributed to the inclusion of economic abuse in the new statutory definition of domestic abuse in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, SEA’s Founder and CEO, undertook the first piece of UK research into economic abuse as an MA student at CWASU in 2008. She was appointed a Research Fellow in CWASU in 2013, working on the ground breaking Finding the Costs of Freedom report and leading scoping and prevalence studies on financial abuse in partnership with Refuge and the Cooperative Bank. CWASU supported Nicola’s travelling fellowship through the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) to Australia and the USA in 2016. She used this to investigate support for survivors of financial abuse and this became the foundation to establish SEA: CWASU continued the collaboration by asking Londonmet to appoint Nicola an Emeritus research fellow.

The charity has grown from one staff member four years ago to a team of 24 and has changed policy and practice in banking and financial services. Much of SEA’s work to raise awareness of economic abuse and transform responses to it draws on the knowledge base developed through the work undertaken at CWASU. Close links remain between the charity and London Metropolitan University. Prof Liz Kelly provided academic oversight for a research study which explored how economic abuse features in successful prosecutions of the controlling or coercive behaviour offence. She is now an advisor to a global study on economic abuse which SEA is undertaking, and CWASU and SEA were part of a joint bid to explore how economic abuse is addressed within perpetrator programmes.

A strange dark room with a single boot on the floor

Image: Casual Room With Microwave 3, 2020. By Madison Geores, Fine Art Studio