Tackling violence against women and girls
In October 2021, Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones set up a multi-agency task force to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG) across Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight.
Working with the police, criminal justice partners and local authorities, the Task Group has not only sought to improve the operational response and support given to victims of these crimes but has also focused on stopping it happening in the first place through prevention work and disrupting perpetrators.
Crimes of violence against women and girls are many and varied. They include rape and other sexual offences, stalking, domestic abuse, ‘honour-based abuse’ (including female genital mutilation, forced marriage and honour killings), ‘revenge porn’ and ‘upskirting’, as well as many others.
The Task Group has collectively recognised that women and girls deserve to have trust and confidence in policing and the wider criminal justice system, but that policing and the CJS alone will not solve the problem. Tackling VAWG requires a cross sector approach. It is a societal issue which means it needs a strategic response and requires society to get behind it. It starts with those we look up to, the role models for young men, leading by example and highlighting what’s right and what’s wrong. Men and boys need role models to look up to and women need agencies which advocate for them.
Listening to women and girls
To inform the response to VAWG, the Commissioner launched a call for evidence survey in April 2022 aimed at women and girls which received more than 1600 responses.
Of those who filled out the survey, a number came forward to talk about their experiences.
In this short film, the experiences of real women can be heard, bringing to life the reality of VAWG felt in our communities.
The call for evidence survey also asked practitioners to give their views and the next stage of those focus groups are now underway, followed by the views of survivors.
Commissioner Jones said: “These experiences are powerful. When we hear the statistics on VAWG, we’re not getting the full picture, we’re not understanding the real impact this has on women.
“The hope is by listening and bringing these authentic stories to life, they will help shape future services, projects and campaigns to make a real impact in terms of women’s safety at home, at work and at school.”
The Commissioner has been resolute in her dedication to funding programmes which work with men to break the cycle of offending, specifically through domestic abuse prevention projects.
PCC Donna Jones said: “As the APCC joint national lead for Victims, I have worked to produce a VAWG Action Plan which sets out the national priorities for PCCs, government departments and policing, to drive forward positive change. For me, being an advocate for victims is about looking at who is causing the harm in the first place and how to change that through local commissioned services.”
The PCC has funded commissioned services across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight which run behaviour change programmes for individuals or professionals concerned about the use of unhealthy/abusive behaviour in their relationships.
Two men who were referred to the services have talked openly about their journeys:
‘Jon’ was enrolled on the ADAPT programme run by Hampton Trust.
Hampton Trust’s domestic abuse prevention programme is a 22-week group work intervention. The sessions are designed to help those referred to reflect on their relationship and the impact of their behaviour. It is designed to give people strategies and skills to build more respectful relationships.
In the last 12 months, Hampton Trust received 610 referrals to the programme, 88% of which were men.
‘Mike’ took part in the Up2U programme run by Stop Domestic Abuse.
Stop Domestic Abuse’s programme Up2U developed by Portsmouth City Council is designed for those who use abusive and unhealthy behaviours within their intimate relationships and, who want to learn the skills to have healthier relationships. The programme first started being delivered in 2017. The programme was developed due to a gap in non-statutory provision for those using abusive behaviours towards intimate partners.
In the last 12 months, the project has received 169 referrals, 74% of which were men.
Working with sports clubs
PCC Donna Jones teamed up with Hampshire Cricket’s Hampshire Hawks and Southern Vipers to urge men and boys to call out harassing, sexist and violent behaviour towards women and girls, for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25th November 2022 (White Ribbon Day).
The players came together to take a stand with the Police and Crime Commissioner and make the pledge to never use, excuse or stay silent about violence and abuse towards women and girls.
The Commissioner hopes the local stars will encourage men and boys to think about their behaviour, take responsibility for their actions and call it out amongst peers when they see it.
Commissioner Jones has funded more than £3.5million on support services for victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse for this financial year; crimes which women and girls disproportionality suffer at the hands of men.
In addition, the Commissioner’s office was awarded more than £2million in rounds 3 and 4 of the Safer Streets funding which has been invested into local projects to tackle VAWG in Southampton, Portsmouth, Havant, Fareham, Gosport and the Isle of Wight.
The Police and Crime Commissioner funds a Perpetrator Service Contract across Hampshire and Southampton in partnership with Hampshire County Council and Southampton City Council. The OPCC was also successful in a Home Office funding bid for added value for this contract, such as the Caring Dads programme for young adult fathers who are abusive in their intimate relationships and for Project Foundation where Hampton Trust support police with the identification and management of high harm perpetrators.
The OPCC and Portsmouth City Council jointly fund an integrated DA contract in Portsmouth, which has a perpetrator element. Portsmouth City Council lead the contract and the OPCC provide funding and performance management support. The service (Up2U) is provided by Stop Domestic Abuse (SDA). SDA were also successful in a Lottery Bid to deliver Up2U in parts of SE Hants.