Ahead of International Women’s Day, the Home Office has published its refreshed Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy in order to provide further support to victims and survivors of violent crime.
The refreshed action plan, which was first launched in 2016, sets out new measures to help protect women and girls.
This includes a cross-sector, end-to-end review into how rape and sexual violence cases are handled across the criminal justice system.
Deputy Police Commissioner, Cllr Emily Spurrell said ‘I welcome the refreshed strategy which shapes a new ambition for national and local government to tackle all forms of VAWG. This is a vital step in order to support victims, bring perpetrators to justice, and prevent these appalling crimes happening in the first place.
'As part of my commitment to tackle VAWG on Merseyside, I launched the sexual violence inquiry looking at rape victim’s experiences within the criminal justice system, so I particularly welcome this commitment form the Government. Despite reports of rape increasing, the numbers of cases being dropped has gone up, and victims are routinely left to feel they are the ones on trial, so it is vital we take a good hard look at the system and ensure it is working effectively.
'I have also supported Plan International’s campaign to call for street harassment to be included in the strategy. Street harassment can be incredibly damaging and adds to an underlying culture promoting violence against women and girls so I am glad to see Government has listened and recognised this.
'Young women should grow in a safe environment in order to flourish and no woman should live in fear of violence or abuse.
'Finally I am also pleased to see the strategy being backed by £100 million of funding, and would urge the government to ensure that this goes towards a long term sustainable model for supporting victims of VAWG.’
Other commitments being made in the strategy are pledges to:
- Work with online dating services to raise awareness of domestic abuse;
- The introduction of a new statutory Code of Practice for employers on sexual harassment;
- Work with men and boys to tackle harmful gender norms;
- Provide funding to tackle FGM internationally;
- Develop new approaches to identifying breaches of protective orders;
- Pilot full local commissioning of sexual violence services;
- Provide funding to develop training for IDVAs and ISVAs who support older victims.