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A call for accountability from Liverpool City Council:

An open letter

Wendy Simon, Deputy Mayor
Tony Reeves, Chief Executive
Liverpool City Council
Cunard Building
Water Street
L3 1AH
15th March 2021

Dear Wendy Simon and Tony Reeves, 

We are writing to you to call for accountability from Liverpool City Council for the actions of the former Chair of the Domestic Abuse Strategy Group (DASG) Mr Steve Reddy, and the strategic lead for domestic abuse Ms Angela Madigan (Clarke), on social media. We understand that Mr Reddy has now stood down from his position, and Liverpool City Council has launched an investigation into this matter, but we are clear that this behaviour is part of a wider culture where the severe impacts of sexism and misogyny are minimised. We urge you to ensure that the investigation you have announced is transparent, includes both individuals, follows relevant disciplinary procedures and listens to the voices of survivors and specialist domestic abuse services.  

We are deeply troubled that the Director of Children and Young People’s Services and Chair of the DASG dismissed men’s violence against women as something trivial, ignoring the fact that three women are killed every two weeks at the hands of a partner or ex. We are similarly concerned that the strategic lead for domestic abuse did not challenge this, but laughed along. It is entirely inappropriate these individuals to perpetuate a culture where violence, murder and assault towards women and girls is seen as acceptable and something to laugh at on social media.  

Since the tragic death of Sarah Everard, we have seen the start of a national conversation on male violence and what must change to end itA pivotal part of this is for political and community leaders to prioritise ending male violence and champion women’s equality in our workplaces, schools, streets, homes and online. We need public figures to tackle the attitudes, myths and stereotypes – such as the ‘mother in law’ stereotype at the heart of this harmful ‘joke’ – that underpin violence against women and girls.  

Mr Reddy’s damaging ‘joke’ highlights that these attitudes are so ingrained that those directly responsible for supporting women and children impacted by domestic abuse have no understanding of what is driving men’s violence and how to end it. Specialist domestic abuse services in the city, such as Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service, have been raising concerns for years about the dangerous ‘gender neutral’ approach to violence against women and girls (VAWG). Three years ago,Mr Reddy decided to rename the ‘VAWG’ strategic group as it did not include male victims. These concerns are not isolated to Liverpool – they are part of a growing trend towards ‘gender blind’ responses to domestic abuse nationwide. This dangerous approach is in practice de-funding women’s services, failing women and girls, and undoing decades of work to end violence against women.  

The investigation that Liverpool City Council is conducting must show that the lives of women and girls in the city matter. You must formally remove both of the individuals who made these harmful comments from positions of leadership on domestic abuse and violence against women and girls and follow relevant disciplinary policies and proceduresWe further urge you to re-establish the VAWG strategic group, commit to listening to survivors and the specialist women’s organisations, and develop a new VAWG strategy that tackles the root causes of men’s violence and funds the life-saving support services women need. 


Yours sincerely, 

Farah Nazeer, CEOWomen’s Aid Federation England 

Paula Nolan, CEO, Liverpool Domestic Abuse Services 

Baljit Banga, Executive Director, Imkaan 

Sally Starkey, Chief Officer, Warrington Women’s Aid 

Tracy Vallis, Chief Executive Officer, Changing Pathways 

Denise Farman, Chief Officer, North East Lincolnshire Women’s Aid  

Alison Bourne, Chief Executive Officer, The Dash Charity  

Jill Caldwell, Chief Executive, Endeavour Project  

Pamela Richardson, Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Aid in Leicestershire Ltd 

Fiona GwinnettChief Executive Officer, Wight Dash  

Vicky BunnageCEO, Crossroads Derbyshire  

Michelle Blunsom MBE, CEO, East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services 

Heidi Riedel, CEO, Woman’s Trust 

Angie Stewart, Chief Executive Officer, Cambridge Women’s Aid 

Denise Fenn, CEO, Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuge & Support Services 

Wear Valley Women’s Aid 

Umme Imam, Executive Director, The Angelou Centre 

Shonagh Dillon, CEO, Aurora New Dawn  

Yasmin Rehman, Chief Executive Officer, Juno Women’s Aid  

Dr Liza Thompson, CEO, SATEDA 

Fiona Dwyer, CEO, Solace Women’s Aid 

Nik Peasgood, Chief Executive, Leeds Women’s Aid 

Naomi Dickson, Chief Executive, Jewish Women’s Aid 

Wendy Bulman, Manager, Shropshire Domestic Abuse Service  

Elaine YatesCEO, Coventry Haven Women’s Aid 

Ursula Lindenberg, Director, VOICES  

Anna Cummins, Chair of the Trustees, Sutton Women’s Centre  

Mandy Green, Head of Services, Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid Ltd 

Fran EllisCEO, Rising Sun Domestic Violence and Abuse Service 

Kerry Albiston, Director, Haven House Project 

Caroline Pike, Director of Operations, Valley House  

Constanze Sen, CEO, Bromley & Croydon Women’s Aid 

Sarah Hill, CEO, IDAS 

Claire Holcombe, Associate Director of Client Services, Women’s Aid in Luton 

Penny Thomas, Charity Co-Founder, Halo Project  

Sarah Dagley, Chief Executive, NIDAS 

Lisbeth Harvey, CEO, Wycombe Women’s Aid 

Dickie James MBE, Chief Executive, Staffordshire Women’s Aid 

Beverley Jones, Chief Executive, Next Chapter  

Susan Wallis, Chief Executive Officer, North Devon Against Domestic Abuse 

Shigufta Khan, Chief Executive Officer, The Wish Centre 

Claire Lambon, Chief Executive Officer, Stop Domestic Abuse 

Aneta Mackell, Service Manager, OPOKA 

Karen Ingala Smith, Chief Executive, Nia 

Jo Gough, CEO, RISE 

Richinda Taylor, CEO, EVA Women’s Aid 

Sharon HowardChief Executive Officer, Safe in Sussex  

Sandra Manak, Interim CEO, Panahghar
Colette Byrne, CEO, Broxtowe Women’s Project  

Becky Rogerson MBE, Director, Wearside Women in Need 

Lesley Storey, Head of Services, My Sisters Place Domestic Abuse Service  

Fiamma Pather, Chief Executive Officer, Your Sanctuary  

Yasmin Khan, Chief Executive, Staying Put 

Firoza MohmedChief Executive OfficerHumraaz 

Gwen Bleasdale, Chief Executive, The Liberty Centre

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