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22 July: PCC responds to Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy

22 July 2021

Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones, has welcomed the Government’s Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy which emphasises partnership working, prevention and the need to be victim focused.

 

Commissioner Jones said: “The Government’s strategy is clear that prioritising prevention and early intervention is key to reducing violence against women and girls. Locally we are working together to make most of funding from the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund to invest in preventative measures to help women and girls to feel safer in our communities.

“My office has submitted two applications to the third round of the Safer Streets Fund. An application for Southampton and also a joint bid for Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight have been sent to the Home Office.

“The applications include physical interventions, such as CCTV and lighting as in previous rounds of the fund, but they also look to target the root causes of these types of crime through education and awareness. Programmes in schools to combat unhealthy behaviours, campaigns focused on student safety and also art installations to challenge gender stereotypes are some of the innovative ways we hope to reduce VAWG in public spaces within Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

“The interventions proposed in the applications, if successful can be used to help other local authorities to tackle this widespread issue and improve safety in public spaces, primarily for women and girls.”

In her role as Association for Police and Crime Commissioners Victim’s Lead, Donna Jones, has issued the following joint statement with London Deputy Mayor Sophie Linden:

“It is tragic that it took the murder of Sarah Everard for society to recognise that violence against women and girls is an epidemic in this country.

“PCCs said at the time that a fundamental change of approach was needed, so we welcome the Government’s Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy, published today. Rightly, it sets out a whole system approach to tackling violence. But this will only succeed with sustainable funding.

“We want all victims to feel safe coming forward to report, knowing that the police will listen and confident that justice will be served. Currently, too many victims feel unable to support a prosecution, or later withdraw from the process. We must all work harder to earn their trust and we need services in place that enable this to happen.

“We are pleased the NPCC will be appointing a single lead officer for VAWG who PCCs can work closely with to deliver change at a national level. If more victims seeking help means the police record more crimes, then this is a trend to be celebrated, not scorned. This is especially true for particularly vulnerable groups such as disabled and migrant women; and for crime types where reporting is known to be appallingly low, such as FGM and so-called ‘honour-based’ violence. We must not let victims suffer in silence.

“It is essential that more perpetrators are brought to account for their offending, but we are clear that tackling VAWG over the long term is about much more than enforcement alone. PCCs want all partners to play their part and ensure victims are at the centre of all we do. This includes expediting cases through the courts and supporting victims every step of the way.

“PCCs are already commissioning specialist services which support victims in our communities, tailored to their needs and circumstances. We stand ready to do even more, but this requires sustainable funding. PCCs are already working with government to make a strong case for more, sustainable funding to support victims in the long term.

“At the same time, it is imperative that we work together to prevent crimes happening in the first place – through better education and awareness; by challenging misogyny and hate in society; and working to change repeat offenders’ behaviour.

“PCCs call for a new statutory duty requiring key agencies to prevent harms caused by VAWG. In addition, we will continue to support improvements across our local criminal justice system through our roles as Chairs of Local Criminal Justice Boards.”

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