You are here: PCCs take action against violence against women and girls

Today, Revolving Doors Agency publishes a new report, “Spotlight on violence against women and girls (VAWG)”. This spotlight, the sixth in the series, highlights how PCCs across the country are tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG), through strengthening service provision and using the convening and commissioning powers of their roles. Around 1.2 million women across England have experienced substantial physical and sexual abuse across their life time. These experiences can have severe ramifications on the lives of women and girls - including mental health problems, homelessness and substance misuse.

A recent review of police and crime plans carried out by Revolving Doors Agency highlighted almost all Police and Crime Plans identified VAWG as a key vulnerability or need locally. However, only a third of plans translated this into a strategic priority. Considering the prevalence of VAWG and its severe consequences, it is vitally important that national and local leaders adopt a robust approach to tackle it. The Spotlight on VAWG demonstrates that PCCs are increasingly adopting approaches that recognise the underlying causes, specifically; gender inequality, racial and ethnic discrimination and social exclusion.

Examples include:

Prevention and early identification: An approach demonstrated by the PCC for Bedfordshire, Kathryn Holloway, who is leading a multi-agency approach to provide targeted support for vulnerable individuals at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of VAWG crimes.

Early intervention and diversion: North Yorkshire PCC Julia Mulligan’s Respect Programme, an initiative that supports and diverts children and young people flagged as being at risk of committing domestic violence. Building community capacity: An approach of which Surrey PCC, David Munro, is at the forefront through harnessing the power of Surrey Minority Ethnic Forum (SMEF) which works alongside and in partnership with black and minority ethnic communities who are at risk of FGM, forced marriage or ‘honour-based’ violence

Deterrence to address repeat victimsation: Through launching a project which focuses on deterring the perpetrators of domestic violence, Sussex PCC Katy Bourne, Essex PCC Roger Hirst and South Wales PCC Alun Michael are addressing the root cause of the cycle of domestic violence and abuse. Provision of intensive specialist support: is the driving force behind ‘Healthy Relationships, Families and Communities’ a programme commissioned by Gloucestershire PCC, Martin Surl, which delivers tailored workshops that educate, support and guide victims of domestic abuse.

The experience of being victimized is almost universal in the lives of the women we work with in our Forums. Violence against women is both a cause and consequence of mental ill-health, substance misuse problems and the multiple problems we see women grappling with. We are encouraged that PCCs are tackling VAWG and would encourage them to ensure that all women, including ethnic and sexual minorities, and disabled women are included in their planning.

Christina Marriott, Chief Executive of Revolving Doors Agency

The aim of our collective work around VAWG is simple – to make more help available so that whenever or wherever a victim feels able to seek help, there is someone with the correct training who can offer a route to safety. With the advent of the transformation fund, I’m delighted to see the emergence of innovative projects to deliver just that. Locally, the PTF Board and Home Office funding has enabled the growth of initiatives such as the Women’s Diversionary Support pathway and A Whole System Approach, which sees six North East forces collaborating to transform our response to domestic abuse. Such innovations clearly demonstrate our commitment to taking action against such abhorrent violence.

Dame Vera Baird QC, PCC for Northumbria and APCC lead on VAWG