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Staffordshire Police is committed to tackling Violence, Abuse and Intimidation against Women and Girls (VAIWG) and is encouraging the public to continue engaging with the force to report why and where they don’t feel safe.
Sadly, recent tragic events, including the death of Sarah Everard, have highlighted people’s concerns about personal safety. This case has also had a profound effect on people’s confidence and trust in policing nationally.
In recognition of White Ribbon Day and the following 16 days of action to end male violence against women, the force is providing an update on the work it is doing to tackle perpetrators, protect women and prevent future tragedies.
And whilst the force has always taken violence, abuse and intimidation of women and girls very seriously with areas such as domestic abuse, stalking and harassment and rape and serious sexual offending force priorities, the force acknowledges there is more to do.
As part of its commitment, the force will:
- Continue to refocus efforts, improve services and work with partners to ensure there is a robust approach to both prevention of violence and the protection of those who don’t feel safe
- Never ask women to change their behaviours and always strive to hold perpetrators to account for their actions
- Make streets safer together with partners – backed by successful Safer Streets and Safety of Women at Night Commissioner funding bids
- Continue to deliver a local violence strategy through a partnership Violence Reduction Alliance, of which women and girls is a top priority
- Work with partners across the criminal justice system to increase prosecution rates and share best practice
- Protect victims by improving offender management to identify early signs of harmful behaviour
- Continue to raise the standards of the workforce, rooting out any and all predatory behaviour, also reviewing vetting procedures
Chief Inspector Victoria Downing, co-ordinating the force response to VAIWG, said: “Every public space should be a safe place for all women and girls and whilst we are ambitious to improve the police response to violence against women and girls, we cannot provide the whole solution. This is a cultural issue, deep rooted and embedded in society and requires long lasting attitudinal and behavioural change. Everyone has a role to play.
“Part of our approach is to hear and listen to women and girls, to tell us what they think needs to change and how we can continue to create safe environments. We also realise that our conversations with men and boys is important, they are part of the solution and need to be involved.
“It’s really important the public continue engaging with us, speaking to our officers and reporting where and why they don’t feel safe. We are determined locally, and in support of our colleagues nationally, to keep violence against women and girls a top priority and to be open and transparent about what we are doing.”
Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime, Ben Adams, said: “Reducing violence against women and girls – and the fear of violence – is a key priority in my soon-to-be-published police and crime plan, and I welcome Staffordshire Police’s commitment to this important area.
“Having successfully bid for funding from the Home Office’s Safety of Women at Night and Safer Streets funds, my office is working with partners to invest in practical measures that will not only increase the safety of women and girls, but also ensure they feel safer too.
“These include CCTV, improved lighting and the development of ‘safe spaces’ in night-time locations, as well as education initiatives to help young people understand how their behaviour can impact women and girls’ feelings of safety.”
Got a question about the force response to VAIWG or want to share your thoughts and views on the matter? The force is hosting an online chat with the public on December 2nd 2021. Details can be found on the force Facebook page.