WHITE RIBBON DAY 2022: Police and Crime Commissioner teams up with sports clubs, listens to the voices of women and girls and showcases behaviour change programmes to tackle violence against women and girls in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight
25 November 2022
PCC Donna Jones has 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 (White Ribbon Day).
The players have come 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.
Southampton Football Club and Portsmouth FC have also come forward to urge all men and boys to take responsibility for their actions and challenge others on inappropriate behaviour when they see it.
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.
PCC Donna Jones said: “White Ribbon’s mission is to prevent violence against women and girls by addressing its root causes, by changing long established and harmful attitudes that often result in men’s violence against women.
“White Ribbon Day celebrates the many men, and women, willing to show leadership and commitment to promoting safe, healthy relationships with families and encourages men to challenge each other’s attitudes and behaviours.
David Mann, Hampshire Cricket & The Ageas Bowl CEO, said ‘’Hampshire Cricket and The Ageas Bowl is pleased to support the White Ribbon Day campaign again in 2022. We take pride in making a meaningful difference and hope our continued support of this key initiative will help encourage wider adoption of the White Ribbon Day promise to end violence against women.’’
The support from clubs comes a year after the Commissioner pioneered a Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Task Group which comprises of police, the CPS, the probation service, Judges and magistrates from across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight as well as local authorities, health, and partners all working together to tackle VAWG.
Commissioner Jones explained: “The VAWG agenda needed a local cross system approach and coordinated response, together with a strong commitment from leaders across the two counties.
“The breadth of agencies involved means it has been one of the first of its kind in the country.
“The purpose of the multi-agency VAWG Task Group is to ensure the needs of women and girls are kept at the heart of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight’s strategic response.”
Today, to mark International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) the Commissioner hosted an event at St Mary’s Stadium with VAWG Task Group members to reflect on the work they have achieved over the last 12 months.
At the event, a resolution was passed where members agreed to continue their efforts into the future.
The group has worked on building confidence with women and girls to increase reporting, how to improve the response to managed offenders, preventing VAWG through early interventions and speeding up legal processes to get justice for victims.
The PCC has been at the forefront of driving this partnership approach, through engaging with local communities, working with senior partners, chairing the Local Criminal Justice Board and funding projects with local authorities such as the ‘Safer Streets’, and ‘Safety of Women at Night’ funds.
Responding to the voices of 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 a short film released today, 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 interventions.
“We know that women are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse, which is why prevention programmes are so important.”
The PCC has funded 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 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.
Hampton Trust is the commissioned service for Hampshire, Southampton and the Isle of Wight.
CEO Chantal Hughes said: “In the UK, millions of violence, abuse and harassment crimes against women and girls are recorded each year. Domestic abuse constitutes 15% of police-recorded crime with 1.6 million estimated female victims in the year ending March 2020. These figures do not accurately represent the enormity of the problem as significantly more offences never come to the attention of any service, remaining unreported and under the radar.
“For every victim and survivor of domestic abuse, there is a perpetrator. If we are to stand any chance of tackling the root cause of domestic abuse, it is imperative that we identify and engage those individuals perpetrating abuse and hold them to account. For far too long we have placed the burden of responsibility on victims to leave an abusive relationship.
“However, the identifying and targeting of domestic abuse perpetrators must go beyond a criminal justice response. It is the responsibility of all frontline services. Unless we commit to a shared vision of addressing those causing harm, perpetrators will remain under the radar and victims will continue to suffer in silence.”
‘Mike’ took part in the Up2U programme run by Stop Domestic Abuse.
Stop Domestic Abuse deliver the Up2U: Creating Healthy Relationships programme which 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.
Up2U is the commissioned service for Portsmouth.
Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones said: “Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) starts with a culture change, in communities and in organisations.
“It requires society to get behind it and 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.
“My Police and Crime Plan is also rooted in prevention, providing funding for agencies to tackle these issues.
“In addition, the criminal justice system needs to prioritise VAWG offences. The fact that trials for serious sexual offences and rape take years to get to court is not acceptable; it has a huge impact on victims, and it allows potentially dangerous people to offend again. This has to change. The launch of Operation Soteria Bluestone is a chance for police to show demonstrable increases in charge and conviction rates.
“Victims and communities want to see noticeable change in how these cases are handled.
“Alongside this, the VAWG Task Group is finding gaps in provision and finding solutions, listening to women, scrutinising data, and equipping our services with the knowledge and power to bring about long lasting change in society.
“At the NPCC/APCC Summit this month we jointly pledged to help deliver ‘societal change’ to tackle VAWG through stronger partnership working. While police leadership must drive much of this change, the NPCC said that VAWG is a societal issue that policing alone will not be able to solve.
“It’s only by bringing partners together that we can weave the golden thread of VAWG activity throughout social policy.
“As Commissioner, I will continue to lead the Task Group to pursue our collective ambition to make Hampshire and the Isle of Wight safer for women and girls.”