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7 July: Call for a new approach to tackling violence against women and girls

07 July 2021

The APCC’s joint Victim’s Leads, Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones and London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Sophie Linden, have responded to today’s report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.

They said: “As Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), we support the clear and hard-hitting findings of the HMICFRS interim report and welcome the call for a radical and bold new approach to tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), working with agencies and victims groups right across the system at a local and national level. It is absolutely clear there needs to be a step change in focus and funding as women and girls deserve so much better from the services that should be there to protect and support them.

“We acknowledge that violence against women and girls is an epidemic – not just in the streets but also in the home. Whilst the police have a key role to play in tackling it, it is a societal wide issue and we must all play our part in stopping it. In our APCC VAWG statement released over the summer we set out our position on VAWG and how we want to work with partners to address this. What is required is a multiagency response with victims at the centre of all our work – better education, better prevention, and better availability of support for women and girls. PCCs welcomed the measures the Government announced following the end-to-end rape review to improve victim confidence and prosecution rates; and as the inspection report points out, there is already much good work going on in police forces. But much more needs to be done.

“We support the call for a new statutory duty across agencies to prevent harm caused by VAWG and would see the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill currently going through parliament as the most effective vehicle for this. We welcome the call for sustainable funding for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence. This is something that PCCs have long been calling for. There is an urgent need to move away from short-term, piecemeal funding towards a longer term, sustainable funding strategy which works to prevent violence from happening in the first place as well as providing essential support to those women and girls who are victims of these terrible crimes.

“As commissioners of local victim support services, PCCs are already commissioning a wide range of specialist services to support women and girls who have been victims of domestic abuse, rape and sexual violence. We work closely with local victims charities to ensure these essential services are in place and delivering across our communities. But we want to do even more. Sustainable funding would help us work with local victim support organisations to plan for the long term. And as chairs of our Local Criminal Justice Boards, we are committed to bringing criminal justice partners together to ensure we deliver improvements across local criminal justice services as set out in today’s report. Many of us are also responsible for leading local Violence Reduction Units (VRUs), delivering a wide range of interventions and support to tackle perpetrators, support victims and embed prevention across our communities. We would like to see VRU funding rolled out to all areas across England and Wales.

“We are determined that our streets and homes become safe places for all women and girls, and stand ready to work with Government, victims groups and wider partners to make a real difference for the communities we serve.”