About Special Events

The Ascent second tier strand delivers 4 special events each year.

Dismantling Barriers

Improving the accessibility of services for disabled women and girls

22nd November 2018

Disabled women are disproportionately likely to experience domestic violence than non-disabled women, according to a 2015 report by Public Health England. Research carried out by Women’s Aid has found that disabled women are twice as likely to be assaulted or raped as non-disabled women, and that disabled women endure domestic abuse for longer than non-disabled women because appropriate support is not available.

Disabled women also experience exclusion from accessing basic healthcare services – in 2017 a Cancer Research report found that disabled women are a third less likely than non-disabled women to participate in screenings for breast cancer, due to reasons ranging from a lack of accessible transport to traditional mammogram machines not being adapted for wheelchair users.

Disabled women and girls face barriers in accessing all kinds of services. At this event, we want to explore the following questions:

What would appropriate support for disabled women and girls experiencing VAWG look like?

How can organisations that are operating with limited resources ensure that they are as accessible as possible to disabled women and girls who have a diverse range of access needs?

How can support service providers listen to and magnify the voices of disabled women and girls to create services that are accessible across the board?

This event aims to ask these questions and more, and to generate practical recommendations that service providers can put into practice. Although this event will cover disabled women and girls’ experiences of violence and abuse and how these can be best addressed by service providers, we also want to address accessibility in a wider context and discussion will reflect that. The event will consist of a panel discussion followed by group work.

This event is aimed at:

  • Service providers, including homelessness services, community organisations, and women’s organisations, as well as organisations that work with those affected by sexual and/or domestic violence
  • Disabled people’s organisations
  • Decision-makers, including borough officers and policymakers
  • Statutory service providers, including social services


Past events:

What’s Feminism Got to Do With It?

6th September 2018

This event explored feminism’s role in civil society and tackling violence against women and girls through two sessions: a morning session funded by City Bridge Trust as part of The Way Ahead project on feminism’s role in civil society and infrastructure organisations, and an afternoon session funded by London Councils as part of the Ascent project on the role of feminism in tackling violence against women and girls.

“Thank you so much for this seminar. I feel feminism is not explored enough. It’s a case of you are one [a feminist] or aren’t one. I’ve really appreciated hearing open views on this and how it can mean different things to different people and this will make a difference to me personally and professionally.”

“I was excited to see constant mention of intersectionality. Allowed me to feel very visible.”

“Inspirational – so valuable to talk directly about feminism rather than gender-based issues.”

“Great speakers and hugely informative event, I made some great connections.”

“Thank you. It was good to hear the discussion, gauge the state of the sector and great to do some networking and meet representatives of organisations new to me.”

Supporting Services, Supporting Survivors

20 June 2018

This event celebrated specialist support services for frontline VAWG organisation and launched the Assessment of Needs report for the Ascent Second Tier Support Strand. It consisted of a keynote speech by Rokhsana Fiaz OBE, Mayor of Newham; a presentation of the report by its author, Dr Louise Harvey-Golding; and a panel discussion with Ascent Second Tier Strand Members on the question, In a difficult climate, what is the role of second tier services? 

“A really beneficial day! It has increased my overall awareness of the many women-based services out there.”

“Big thank you to Ascent for this wonderful training. I have learnt a lot which will help me in my role as well as organisation.”

“Whilst not directly related to own role (separate reason for attending), the event was still informative and useful for gaining general background on sector.”

“Good networking opportunities. Interesting themes filled out in panel discussion.”

I’m better informed about 2nd tier services.”

“[I am] More informed about inclusion support for those marginalised, less understood or with less of a voice.”

Spotlight on Supporting Homeless Women with Multiple Needs

28 March 2018

This was a joint event between Homeless Link, Shelter and Women’s Resource Centre that aimed to:

  • identify barriers and solutions to the homelessness and women’s sectors working together
  • identify gaps in services to support women with multiple needs
  • highlight good practice from the homelessness and women’s sectors supporting women with multiple needs
  • offer networking opportunities for staff from the homelessness and women’s sector.

“Fantastic free event – more please!”

“I will go back feeling more reassured about the work we’re doing because I heard about other people facing the same issue.”

“Fantastic event. Need more. Thank you!”

“Really enjoyed the event, need more events like this to raise awareness.”

“I intend to pass on the knowledge I have gained to my colleagues.”

“I have managed to form contacts that I may be able to form partnerships that will better support the women that I work with and support.”

“Well presented, lovely food. Thank you.”

CEDAW, Women and the Women’s Sector

30 November 2017

This event aimed to be a platform where women’s organisations can come together to discuss the value of CEDAW*, both in terms of the sector and individual women. It allowed for discussions on whether and how it can be used as a constructive and powerful tool to keep the government to account and how it can be used effectively by the sector.

*CEDAW is the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence Against Women. It is an international human rights treaty which the UK signed up to in the 1980s. Signing up to the treaty places an obligation on the UK to adhere to it. Every four years the UK is reviewed by the CEDAW Committee, which is made up of 23 independent experts. This is soon to take place and as part of this process, the UK released a period report last week where they outline the progress they’ve made towards fulfilling the Convention.

“Very interesting day. More of these should be available to public sector workers”

“Eye opening around CEDAW articles, more events and training required.” 

“I feel better informed about CEDAW and process of completing a shadow report. Really informative event and so pleased there was time for discussion”

“I can bring this information back to other front-line staff who aren’t aware of CEDAW or view it quite ‘abstract’. Will have to explore ways we can better use it as an organisation. It was brilliant, thank you for inviting LBWP”

“Well run, informative, flexible to changes to events outside their control”

“Very informative, well organised event, good speakers. Excellent facilitation from WRC”

“Extremely interesting event, speakers, and participants”

“It was good to put women’s sector in a room to think through CEDAW potential. Speakers all excellent”

“It gave me a different what of thinking about the work we do it was very interesting and applicable to the work I do
I am aiming at inviting all staff to these events, just love it. Wish lots of more people attended to spread this information
knowledge of other organisations to accept referrals and to signpost clients”

Celebrating Pan-London Collaborative Services Tackling Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence

5 September 2017

This event re-launched London Councils Funding of Priority 2: Tackling Domestic and Sexual Violence for 2017-2021. The projects Ascent, DeafHope and LGBT Domestic Abuse Partnership have all recieved funding for the next four years under Priority 2.

The event celebrated our successes and demonstrate the ongoing need for Pan-London specialist services tackling domestic and sexual violence.


  • Keynote speaker – Cllr Lib Peck
  • Presentations from the projects funded under Priority 2
  • Forum Theatre – a session where professional actors will present a scenario before the audience is tasked with solving the particular issues faced by one of the actors from the scenario

“Raising awareness of the work of Ascent and referral routines for managers and staff to use”

“All good, really enjoyed forum theater, very well presented and thought -provoking.”

“It was really helpful to know the different organisations involved in pan-London work”

“excellent event”

“good awareness of services and specifics of their work, thinking more about partnership valuing, not only between VCS but statutory agencies so well.”

Health and Violence Against Women and Girls: A holistic approach to change

June 2017

This event emphasised the need of a holistic approach in understanding health and VAWG both within the VAWG sector and across other social issues and sectors. The aim of this event was to facilitate cross-sector conversations on health and violence against women and girls in a safe and collaborative environment by providing a space for thought-provoking, inspiring, and engaging conversations extending well beyond the event.

The event consisted of speeches and workshops presented by speakers and facilitators exhibiting a rich variety of expertise, experience and perspectives. Topics of the day included:

  • Women carers
  • BME women
  • Mental health
  • Austerity
  • Legal Frameworks
  • No Recourse to Public Funds – health impacts
  • Pregnancy and related health risks
  • Cross- sector partnerships

“Stimulated thinking about trauma informed language, really enjoyed the day – thank you!”

“Approaching health issues with a greater awareness of the many different health issues women face. Well-done! Informative, varied, engaging”

“Chance to learn, reflect, grow. Will benefit from the space and implementing the knowledge form talks and workshops into practice”

“Inspiring, intelligent, thought provoking speakers. Very well organised”

“Better able to work with young women, women with substance misuse and women with HIV “