Tackling violence against women and girls

Tackling violence against women and girls

I have been profoundly affected by the stories I hear about the abuse regularly endured by women. We know that women and girls often feel unsafe both at home and out in their communities, with day to day decision making impacted by  their desire to increase personal safety. Recent events have, I believe, made this a watershed moment for action, and I am determined that we do not miss this opportunity to have a lasting impact on this agenda.

It is for this reason that I am absolutely committed to tackling all forms of violence and intimidation that women experience, whether it’s catcalling, harassment, rape or domestic abuse. Our goal should be to ensure that women are safe no matter where they are; in their home or in public, no matter the time or location. Society must change drastically, and we need more men calling out bad behaviour, becoming our allies, teaching their sons about what good behaviour looks like and condemning inappropriate behaviour. This includes inappropriate behaviour by Constabulary employees, which is why I support the Constabulary adopting the United Nation’s HeForShe approach.

The term Violence and Intimidation Against Women and Girls (VIAWG) includes a range of offences including sexual violence (SV), domestic abuse (DA), stalking, honour-based violence and forced marriage. Intimidation is included as we recognise the increasing problem of online harassment and other forms of mental and emotional abuse.

By focusing on offences against women and girls we are not in any way saying that we are not interested in tackling violence against men or any other group in society. Quite the contrary. Anyone suffering violence and intimidation as a result of their gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, disability or any other protected characteristic will continue to be prioritised as a victim of hate crime. This priority simply reflects the fact that these offence types disproportionally affect women and girls. Our communities are crying out for action to stop VIAWG.

These deeply harmful crimes have a profound effect on victims, survivors and family and friends of those impacted by these crimes. The harms are felt further within wider society, impacting on the freedom and equality which should be accessible to all. They also have a huge impact on our economy. DA alone is estimated to cost the police £1.3 billion per year in response, with further costs to the health service, economic activity and emotional impact totalling some £66 billion per year.

I welcome the national drive to tackle VIAWG and my office will do all it can to support the aspirations and requirements of new legislation and a national strategy from Government:

  • The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 sets out 123 commitments, both legislative and non-legislative, designed to promote awareness of domestic abuse; protect and support victims and their families; transform the justice process to prioritise victim safety and provide an effective response to perpetrators; and to drive consistency and better performance in the response to domestic abuse across all local areas, agencies and sectors
  • The 2021 national Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy outlines the actions the Government will take to increase support for survivors, bring perpetrators to justice and, ultimately, reduce the prevalence of violence against women and girls.

How we will deliver

Improving our understanding Working together Improving our services Focusing on the perpetrator
Listening to our victims and survivors to help improve
policies and practices and using innovative new tools to help promote anonymous reporting
Working with partners and building the best collective response to improving safety and confidence in women and girls to report VIAWG Evaluating policies, practices, and performance to ensure that we are constantly improving the way we work to provide local services that the public have confidence
in
Working in partnership to address the unhealthy and threatening behaviours and cultures through early intervention and ongoing education. This includes support
within the Constabulary
Providing resources Meeting the needs of Gloucestershire residents
Supporting and resourcing support services for victims and survivors Using contract development and monitoring to ensure the
right service is delivered to Gloucestershire residents

 

The Commissioner’s Fund

Here in Gloucestershire, PCC Martin Surl allocates 1% of the overall policing budget to the Commissioner’s Fund, which supports county-based projects that deliver one or more of our priorities. Our aim is to work directly with communities to make Gloucestershire safer.

About the fund

Latest updates from your OPCC