• Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has welcomed a report calling for urgent, radical, cross-sector reform to protect women and girls from violence
  • The report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) highlights that in the year up to March 2020, there were an estimated 1.6 million female victims of domestic abuse and more than 1.5 million female victims of sexual assault and stalking
  • Another survey showed 50% of women now feel unsafe in public spaces
  • Speaking at a roadshow in Gloucester last night, as part of a public consultation on his draft Police and Crime Prevention Plan, PCC Chris Nelson said, “Fundamental system wide change is required, involving not only the police but also other partners including the Crown Prosecution Service, health, social care and education to address this cancer in our communities”. 

Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Chris Nelson has welcomed a report calling for urgent, radical, cross-sector reform to protect women and girls from violence.

Figures released by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) show that in the year up to March 2020, there were an estimated 1.6million female victims of domestic abuse, well over half a million victims of sexual assault and more than three quarters of a million victims of stalking.

It follows a Government study earlier in the year, which revealed that the prosecution rate for reported rape is less than 2% and another survey that showed 50% of women now feel unsafe in public spaces.

The HMICFRS says a whole-system approach is needed to make fundamental change in the wake of an ‘epidemic of violence’ against women and girls.

“Wicked and totally unacceptable violence”

Speaking at a roadshow in Gloucester last night, as part of a public consultation on his draft Police and Crime Plan, Mr. Nelson said, “Offending against women and girls is deep-rooted and pervasive in our society.

“Fundamental, system-wide change is required, involving not only the police but also other partners including the Crown Prosecution Service, health, social care and education. We need a step-change in activity to address this cancer in our communities.

“I fully support the Inspectorate’s assessment that we have an epidemic of violence against women and girls in the home and on our streets and I am in the process of drafting my Police and Crime Prevention Plan in which innovative solutions will figure prominently.

“I want a relentless focus on the perpetrators of this wicked and totally unacceptable violence and we need higher prosecution rates and much better victim support”.

Mr. Nelson has recruited a Deputy to help coordinate action across Gloucestershire to introduce a new ‘public health’ approach to crime prevention generally and violence against women and girls in particular.

Once in a generation opportunity

Deputy PCC Nick Evans said, “This is a societal-wide issue and only by working together will we change attitudes and behaviour.

“I am determined that Gloucestershire’s streets and homes become safe places for women and girls and will work with Government, victims groups and wider partners to make a real difference for the community I serve”.

The HMICFRS report, commissioned by the Home Secretary, says that while vast improvements have been made by the police in their response to Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) over the past decade, reform across many sectors – including policing, health and education – is vital to bring about change for the better.

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Zoë Billingham said: “We have a once in a generation opportunity to permanently uproot violence against women and girls, which is now an epidemic in this country. The police have vastly improved how they respond to these crimes, and I welcome the appointment of a national policing lead for VAWG to coordinate this work.

“We’ve set out practical changes for the police to make now, but they cannot solve this alone. That is why we’re taking the unusual step of recommending a radical change of approach across the whole system, involving the police, criminal justice system, local authorities, health and education”.