We know that there have been harmful acts and patterns of intimate partner violence and abuse within our communities in Sheffield.
However the existing ways of responding to these violations (e.g. the police) can serve to compound and extend violence and harm rather than make us and our communities safer. This is particularly true for individuals at the margins of society who disproportionately experience state violence, trauma and neglect including being: poor, on welfare and working class; in care or a care leaver; black and minority ethnic, a migrant, asylum seeker or refugee; a woman or non-binary; a sex worker; queer, lesbian, bisexual or asexual or on the ACE spectrum; transgender or gender non-conforming; disabled, neurodiverse or crip.
Instead of taking power away, transformative justice and community accountability approaches value the everyday skills and power that we have to end violence.
Our approach to violence intervention must be guided by the knowledge held by everyday people, carried out by those closest to and most impacted by violence, and situated in the very spaces and places where violence occurs – within our homes, neighbourhoods and communities (Kim 2010, p. 195).
There is a rich legacy and wealth of work and practice on transformative justice and community accountability to value and learn from. This work has been developed primarily by people of colour and indigenous communities in the US, including INCITE!, CARA, Creative Interventions, GenerationFive, Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective, Audre Lorde Project, Project NIA, Just Practice, Storytelling & Organizing Project and Northwest Network.
The work of our group is in collectively learning how to translate this work and its lessons into our everyday contexts, challenges and peculiarities of our city.
This learning group has been inspired by groups in European cities such as Community Accountability and Transformative Justice Collective (Berlin).