Support for a new cross-system approach to tackling VAWG
The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners is backing calls from the independent inspectorate for a new cross-system approach to tackling the epidemic of violence against women and girls.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) carried out a root and branch review of the policing response and identified areas where improvements still need to be made.
Sophie Linden, London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime and Joint Victims’ Lead for the APCC, was a member of the Expert Reference Group which HMICFRS consulted with when gathering evidence.
She said: “Policing’s response to violence against women and girls has certainly improved in recent years. Today’s report lists many good local initiatives, including examples of work to identify and bear down on perpetrators, but we need consistency and improvements across the country. The numbers of cases closed without a suspect being charged – either because of evidential difficulties or because the victim does not support a prosecution – shows that too many victims are still being let down.
“Her Majesty’s Inspectorate recommends a cross-system approach. That is something Police and Crime Commissioners fully support. This is why we are keen to see the Serious Violence Duty contained within the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill extended to require all agencies to act to tackle and prevent violence against women and girls.
“We also continue to make a strong case to Ministers for sustainable, multi-year funding in the current spending review process so we can commission sufficient critically-important support services to meet the growing demand. PCCs are also raising awareness of these services locally to encourage more self-referrals, and more timely referrals from police.”
The APCC’s other Joint Victims’ Lead, Hampshire PCC Donna Jones, added: “PCCs are committed to holding our Chief Constables, and other agencies though Local Criminal Justice Boards, to account to ensure the necessary radical change is delivered.
“This week we welcomed Maggie Blyth’s appointment as the new NPCC Lead for violence against women and girls. This is a step in the right direction. I have spoken with her already and PCCs look forward to working closely with her on policing’s forthcoming Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy. Maggie’s leadership will hopefully see more police forces proactively pursuing perpetrators, and learning from each other’s best practice so all victims get the best support possible irrespective of who they are, where they live, or whether the violence they suffered happened at home, at work, or on our streets.”