We are proud to have partnered with MP Kate Griffiths, a survivor of sexual abuse, to shift the shame away from victims. Kate visited us for International Women’s Day and met our fantastic female-led team. We sat down for an honest discussion surrounding Kate’s experiences within the justice system and what needs to change.
Following a four-day fact-finding hearing in Derby Family Court, Kate Griffiths was found to have been domestically abused, coercively controlled and raped by her ex-husband, and former MP, Andrew Griffiths. She waived her right to anonymity so she could speak out about her experiences and raise awareness for others. Kate was keen to team up with Cathy, our CEO, to use International Women’s Day to help victims speak out, free of shame.
Kate said: “I know that you can worry about the judgements of others when talking about your situation. From my own personal experience, I was fortunate that I had my friends and family to turn to, but a lot of people don’t have that, and they need people to talk to outside the family who they can talk more openly with – someone like SARAC. I’m keen to support the work they are doing because we have got to help victims and survivors and end violence.”
SARAC stands with Kate and wholeheartedly supports her decision to speak out so openly, we are confident that having her as a friend of the organisation will help other victims and help raise awareness of sexual abuse.
“Having someone high profile like Kate speaking about her experiences helps others realise that it can happen to anyone,” Cathy said. “We deal a lot with historical and family abuse cases and we need to keep conversations open and going so people know that it is abuse and they can get support. That is what Kate is helping us to do. She is helping us shift the shame away from victims.”
As well as going to the courts to waive her anonymity, Kate also pursued a separate case which she recently won, preventing her from having to pay half of the contact costs towards her ex-husband seeing their child. She hopes it sets a precedent for other survivors.
Now, she is turning her attention to the prohibitive costs of court cases, and spoke to us about her aim to get the courts to rethink what she called the ‘contact at all costs’ approach of the justice system towards allowing perpetrators to see their children. Kate is also committed to challenging the system by which abusers can continue to call their victims back to court to vary contact arrangements.
She said: “It is a form of control abusers can continue to assert over their victims and it is wrong that, even if they have no hope of succeeding in varying the orders, they can continue to pull the strings and force their victim back into court, racking up the costs at the same time.”
Kate recently mentioned the important work of SARAC, and the help organisations like us require, in the House of Commons. Cathy said: “Raising awareness of our work is hugely important and it helps us reach more people which is why we are so pleased to meet and talk with Kate.”