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CWJ Launch Event - Manchester

  • Manchester Metropolitan University Benzie Building, Higher Ormond Street, Manchester M15 6BG (map)

Holding the State to account on violence against women: A new Centre for Women’s Justice event convened by the Sylvia Pankhurst Gender Research Centre at Manchester Met.

A day of discussion, ideas and debate, followed by a launch party bringing together feminist activists, survivors, frontline practitioners with lawyers, academics and journalists to explore ways of using the law to challenge and redress violence against women and girls.

This event is supported by the Baring Foundation and the Sylvia Pankhurst Gender Research Centre at Manchester Metropolitan University.



10.30 – 11.00: Registration and coffee

Opening discussion and panel

11.00 – 11.15: Welcome from Dr Kate Cook, Head of the Sylvia Pankhurst Gender Research Centre and introduction fromHarriet Wistrich, founding director, Centre for Women’s Justice.


The Lawyers – legal challenges around violence against women and girls

Chaired by Marcia Willis-Stewart – Birnberg Peirce and Partners – lead solicitor for seventy seven families at the recent Hillsborough Inquest.


Sarah Ricca: solicitor from Deighton, Pierce, Glynn, trustee of Centre for Women’s Justice,specialising in civil litigation against the state and particular expertise in holding the state to account for failures to protect women, particularly in cases that have resulted in domestic homicide.

Ruth Bundey: solicitor and partner at Harrison Bundey in Leeds. With 36 years experience as a criminal defence and inquest lawyer in Chapeltown, Leeds.

Richard Scorer:founder member of Association of Child Abuse Lawyers,expert on litigation around institutionalised child sex abuse and child sexual exploitation in Rochdale.

12.15pm – 1.15pm

The Academics – chaired by Dr Kate Cook (Manchester Law School)


Dr Helen Monk: Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of Crime, Criminalisation and Social Exclusion (CCSE) at Liverpool John Moores University.

Professor Jalna Hamner, retired Professor of women’s studies at Bradford University – researcher on violence against women and activism.

Sarah Woodhouse, Principal solicitor at University of Liverpool Law Clinic.

1.15 – 2.15pm: Lunch 

2.15-3.30pm: The Frontline – Chaired by Sasha Deepwell, trustee at Centre for Women’s Justice


Sandhya Sharma, Safety4Sisters (S4S); S4S has worked for and with migrant women experiencing abuse, since 2009. 

Sandra McNeill: lifelong feminist activist and campaigner on violence against women – Leeds Justice for Women – good and bad experiences of working with lawyers.

Alison Boydell: ISVA at SARSVL, co-founder of End Online Misogyny and co-founder of JURIES, the campaign to introduce mandatory briefings of juries in rape and sexual abuse trials.

Zlakha Ahmed: from Apna-Haq, a South Yorkshire black & ethnic minority women’s support/advocacy organisation on issues of violence and abuse, supported a legal challenge by a service user re: loss of funding in favour of a generic white women’s organisation.

3.30pm – 5.00pm: Tea and workshops, diving into interest areas to discuss 

5pm- 6pm: Plenary: Ideas for future collaborations and challenges with feedback from workshops and additional contributions from:

Estelle du Boulay: Director of Rights of Women

Sally Chesworth: Producer of BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates.

Sonia Birdee – Barrister and volunteer with Greater Manchester Law Centre

6.30pm-8.00pm: Launch party

Introduction from Harriet Wistrich – CWJ

Julie Bindel – feminist campaigner and journalist

Fiona Broadfoot: prostitution survivor, campaigner and educator, founder and founder of ‘Build a Girl’.

‘Sana’ member of WAST who brought legal challenge against Home Office, Serco and Bedfordshire police arising from sexual abuse at Yarl’s Wood.

Music from Women Asylum Seekers Together (WAST) Choir

Drinks and canapes supplied by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.