3rd April 2014, 9:16am
Student conference raises awareness of domestic abuse ‘behind closed doors’
Behind Closed Doors The founder of one of the UK’s leading feminist campaigning organisations joined staff and students at the University of Lincoln at a one-day conference to raise awareness of domestic abuse.

Renowned political activist and journalist Julie Bindel was the keynote speaker at Behind Closed Doors, a thought-provoking student-led event hosted by the University of Lincoln’s School of Health and Social Care.

Julie Bindel, who writes regularly for The Guardian, New Statesmen and Sunday Telegraph, co-founded Justice For Women in 1990. The group opposes violence against women, offers advice on welfare and campaigns on issues such as domestic violence and immigration rights.

Almost 200 delegates witnessed her keynote talk, which explored the media representation of women and girls, how this could contribute to sexism within society and how it can be challenged.

Designed, managed and run by students from the University’s undergraduate Health and Social Care programme, the conference incorporated a number of workshops exploring the many aspects of domestic abuse. Delegates considered dimensions including violence, emotional and psychological mistreatment, digital abuse and the law, and received information from relevant organisations including the Samaritans, Broken Rainbow UK and the White Ribbon Campaign.

Students also attended a second keynote lecture by Amanda Farquar, who offers support for victims through Spring Lodge, the Lincoln Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, which was established to provide a dedicated and comprehensive service for both men and women.

Lincoln student Yvonne Marriott, who helped to organise the conference, said: “We are delighted that this conference has been so well received, as our primary aim was to raise awareness of the numerous issues relating to domestic abuse. Many people understand the term ‘domestic abuse’ to mean violence within a relationship, however victims can in fact suffer in a number of ways, and our conference has been designed to highlight the significance of all elements.

“It is a prevalent issue within the current news agenda, and we are pleased to be able to support efforts to raise awareness while encouraging fellow students to recognise and challenge the causes of domestic abuse.”

Nigel Horner, Head of School of Health and Social Care, added: “I am very proud of the School and its students for their involvement with the Behind Closed Doors conference. I am confident that everyone attending has gone away with a renewed understanding of their obligations to challenge the causes of domestic abuse in their worlds, making this a conference with a real impact.

“This is a great example of the University of Lincoln’s ‘Student as Producer’ principles at their very best. It was a student led initiative from start to finish: our undergraduates chose the topic of domestic abuse, designed and launched the website, invited the speakers and workshop facilitators and managed the logistics of the whole event for nearly 200 delegates.”

Further information about the conference and the organisations involved can be found on the Behind Closed Doors website: www.behindcloseddoors.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk  
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