A red brick wall with the words "end violence against women and girls" stencilled on in black paint


Unison, the UK’s largest trade union, has today voted against believing women who report violence or abuse from men within the trade union movement.

The union’s national delegate conference was asked to vote on a motion stating that when a female trade unionist reports abuse from a male colleague, Unison should assume that she is telling the truth.

Writer Cath Elliot reported the incident on Twitter, where she shared the text of the motion:

We believe that our trade union has the potential to transform society for the better. Therefore we have a particular responsibility to confront and challenge male violence against women within our movement. Male violence against women is not acceptable in any case. It must not be tolerated from those who hold office or power in our movement.

We recognise the enormous challenges faced by women victims of male violence, and the pressures which women face, including from abusive men, not to complain about violence and abuse. We therefore believe that, when women complain of male violence within our movement, our trade union should start from a position of believing women. We believe that all women who complain of male violence have the right to be listened to and supported.

Believing the survivors of abuse is an important step towards making activist movements, and society in general, safer for women. We live in a culture which routinely disbelieves women who report physical and/or sexual violence, or blames them for provoking their abuser. These attitudes allow a minority of men to continue abusing women over years or even decades, and we will only be able to start addressing the huge issue of violence against women when every report is taken seriously.

Unison have been contacted for comment, but have so far failed to respond.