Final report & toolkit launch event – Weds 21 September – Centre for Crime and Justice Studies

Registration is now open for our final report & toolkit launch event. We are very excited to have so many amazing speakers agree to come along and share their perspective on our research project and final report. The event is free, fully accessible, has a safer spaces policy and food/nibbles will be provided. Places are limited. You can register for a place here.

Gendered Violence in Activist Communities
The Salvage Research Project explored the lived experiences of harm, violence and abuse experienced by women, non-binary and transgender individuals in radical activist communities in the UK. This event will mark the launch of the final report and toolkit with a panel discussion of the key findings and implications for action and social justice.


Recent cases of high-profile male activists accused of perpetuating violence against women activists have highlighted a persistent culture of sexism and exclusionary practices within social justice movements.

Alternatives to the criminal justice system, such as safer spaces policies and community accountability processes, have been the subject of controversy and debate. However little is currently known about the contexts and complexities in which both harms and alternative interventions take place.


  • Dr Avi Boukli is Lecturer in Criminology at The Open University. Their recent work has examined anti-trafficking regimes and the financialisation of victim services, and they have broader interests in gender, sexuality, critical victimology and social harm. Avi is currently in the early stages of setting up the Queering Victimology project.
  • Dr Alex Dymock is Lecturer in Criminology and Law at Royal Holloway University of London. Her research interests include visual and cultural criminology, gender and sexuality studies, and feminist and queer perspectives on criminal law. Alex is currently in the early stages of setting up the Queering Victimology project.
  • Camille Kumar is Membership and Sustainability Coordinator at Imkaan, the umbrella group for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) organisations in the UK. Camille has worked in the ending VAWG sector/ movement for 15 years primarily in service provision for women experiencing VAWG. Camille is also a member of Black Feminists UK and Freedom without fear platform and is committed to developing and nurturing intersectional black feminist approaches in her work and her organising.
  • Dr Sarah Lamble lectures in criminology at the School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London. Sarah’s research addresses issues of gender, sexuality and criminal justice, with a current focus on community engagements with transformative justice. Sarah is co-editor of the Routledge Social Justice Book Series and a member of the Reclaim Justice Network.
  • Salvage is a collective of survivors, activists and allies who aim to challenge endemic sexual violence and inadequate responses to sexual violence within radical social justice movements. The research project was conducted by the Salvage research collective: Dr Julia Downes is a Lecturer in Criminology at The Open University, Karis Hanson who works at Solace Women’s Aid and Rebecca Hudson who works at Crossroads Women’s Centre.
  • Sisters Uncut is a feminist direct-action collective who are united by a desire to campaign for better domestic violence services

Safer spaces policy

There is a safer spaces policy in place for this event, available to view here. Please email for further information. The safer spaces policy will be shared and explained at the beginning of the event.

Venue, time and date

September 21st, 2016 7:00 PM   to   9:00 PM
Centre for Crime and Justice Studies
2 Langley Lane
London, SW8 1GB
United Kingdom



Six key messages about sexual violence in UK activist communities

The article I wrote (with the help of Karis and others) based on my reflections of the interviews we have done so far on the research project is now up on Open Democracy here

It was a culmination of thoughts and feelings from sitting in my house transcribing interviews for a couple of weeks at the beginning of the year. We are now in our analysis phase so there is plenty more to come when we start to engage more with survivors’ stories(including a report/zine that we will launch in summer). The planning for the workshops also kicks off in February. We plan to do workshops in London, Bradford, Newcastle, Cardiff and Edinburgh during September 2016. These workshops will enable us to share our research findings and help to put them into practice.

If you are interested in hosting, co-facilitating or making sure your group and/or organisation gets the opportunity to attend please get in touch

If you are a survivor and you are interested in being involved please contact julia (Tel: 01908 655455; E-mail:

Funding News!

fr trust logo



Some brilliant news to share. We have been awarded £4,434.90 from the Feminist Review Trust to deliver a series of workshops in London, Bradford, Newcastle, Cardiff and Edinburgh with social justice movement groups provisionally titled ‘How to Best Respond to Sexual Violence within your Organisation/Group’. They will run in summer 2016 after the salvage research project findings are launched. These workshops will enable us to share our research findings and help to put them into practice. Specifically the workshops aim to help activists identify and challenge sexism and abuse within their groups. More broadly they aim to transform social justice movements into safer, inclusive and more effective movements in which women can transform their lives and provoke social change.

We will start working on this project in the new year. If you are interested in hosting, co-facilitating or making sure your group and/or organisation gets the opportunity to attend please get in touch


Last call for interviews as part of Salvage research project

not celebs no academics.jpgPictures by Lindsay Draws from this amazing free educational mini-zine for all the silencers, derailers, mansplainers, equivocators & apologists out there 

We are really grateful for those who have shared their experiences with us. We have met some incredible survivors and been involved in powerful conversations that dare to break the silences, transform the unspeakable and grasp for a new language to speak about and challenge the everyday harm, violence and abuse experienced within activist lives, groups and movements.

This is now the final call for survivors (self-identified women, trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming) who have experienced sexual violence within past and/or current organising in a social justice movement in the UK who would like to take part in the interview part of our research project. You may have experienced this once or multiple times and we are interested in exploring a variety of experiences of violence, abuse and harm. We are now going to be winding up our interviews before Christmas. Interviews can be arranged at a time, place and method of your choosing (including face-to-face, phone and online). You can email: or call 01908 655455 to talk through how to take part. There is an answering machine that is safe to leave messages on. You can read more about the research here.

If you do not feel comfortable doing an interview but would like to take part in the research in a different way  you are very welcome to show solidarity with the project by contributing something else. Options could include joining the working group and getting involved in writing, meetings, planning, administrating and facilitating workshops, web design, artwork, helping to spread the word and much more.

We have some exciting plans for 2016 and if you are interested in co-organising a session or workshop for your group, social centre, radical event or bookfair about identifying, responding to and preventing sexual violence in activist groups and spaces based on our findings we are interested in hearing from you. You can email us at and follow us on twitter

Update: Salvage Research Project

salvage flyers pile

We are really grateful for the interest that Project Salvage has attracted so far. On our trips out and about many people have told us that this project is timely, overdue and very much needed. Which is great. We are still keen on getting as many sexual violence survivors involved as possible.

We are interested in hearing about as many different experiences and situations as possible. We understand that it takes time to process abusive situations and the idea of talking about it to a stranger can be daunting. We’ve had positive feedback about our interviews so far, for example, one survivor said “I spent 2 hours talking to Julia this afternoon and she’s very nice 10/10 would recommend”. If you are unsure if your situation or experience fits or if you want to share your experience in a different way with us (e.g. by skype, email or online chat rather than a face-to-face interview) please get in touch with us to talk it through.

There is still time to do an interview. We are going to be doing interviews across the UK until mid-December 2015. Interviews can be arranged at a time, place and method of your choosing. You can email: or call 01908 655455 to talk through how to take part. There is an answering machine that is safe to leave messages on.

You can read more about the research project on this page and follow us on twitter here

Launch of our first research project!


Launch of new research project on gendered harms in UK activist communities. 

This project aims to create knowledge about the lived experiences of harm, violence and abuse in radical activist communities in the United Kingdom. It has a particular focus on exploring the experiences of survivors affected by sexual violence including women, gender-queer and transgender individuals. We aim to critically explore how activist movements reproduce social power relations of gender, race, class and sexuality that shape experiences of harm, violence and abuse. The research also aims to discuss how useful the tools commonly used within activist groups to combat sexual violence are (for example reading groups, community accountability projects, calling out/in, zines, discussion groups and workshops, safe(r) space or zero tolerance policies). The goal is to co-construct knowledge and develop a network of survivors to work towards creating effective challenges to heterosexism within social justice movements and activist communities.

Call out to get involved in a research project on sexual violence in activist communities

Was your sexual abuser a high-profile activist? Have you felt unable to speak out about it? Or have you spoken out about it only to be accused of making it up and/or dividing the movement? Did your anti-state activism and/or experience of police brutality rule out going to the police? Were you able to kick out your abuser using other methods? Did the accountability process backfire? Did your abuser just move on to a different group and do the same thing to someone else? Was the trans community so small that you didn’t want your partner to lose it? Do you want to be involved in taking action and challenging sexual violence in activist communities?

We want to hear from survivors who identify as women, gender-queer or trans who are ready to talk about their experiences of sexual violence within current or past organizing in radical social justice movements in the UK. This may have happened once or multiple times, we are interested in hearing from folks with a variety of experiences of sexual violence including unwanted touching, flashing, harassment, stalking, sexual assault and rape.

The salvage collective aims to bring together self-identified women, queers and transfolks who have experienced gender oppression, violence and abuse in activist communities to share experiences, resources and  build communities of belief, support and action. We got together through a workshop on survivor-led approaches to gendered violence and abuse at AFem 2014. This is our first research project. We aim to develop resources, information and practical recommendations to work towards creating effective challenges to gendered violence, abuse and harms within social justice movements and communities.

If you are interested in getting involved and/or want more information about this research project:

E-mail: julia.downes at
Phone: Julia 01908 655455
Twitter: @Project_Salvage

Our project takes the issues of safety, confidentiality and research ethics very seriously. This project has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee at The Open University HREC/2015/2041/Downes/1

Beyond ‘The Honeytrap’

Sorry it has been a while. I have been busy moving jobs. You can out more about what I am doing as a job here. I am going to be presenting some thoughts about the backlash against safer spaces and community accountability processes in left, radical, anarchist and anti-authoritarian social justice movements and cultures as part of a panel called Making Feminist Sense of Left-wing and Radical Politics in Contemporary Europe at the ECPR Standing Group on Gender and Politics conference in June. Let me know if you are interested in reading it or if you know of any backlash articles and blogs that I should check out.