The Home Office has released their new strategy on tackling violence against women and girls, following on from their Call for Evidence survey.
The Call for Evidence survey opened in December 2020 and sought the views of those who had either been affected by violence, or worked within the sector to prevent and respond to violence. The survey received more than 180,000 responses over 10 weeks.
Insight gathered from the survey has been used to shape the new strategy which is calling for:
- More support for survivors through increased funding for services
- Increasing the numbers of perpetrators who are brought to justice
- Better survivor engagement with the police
- An increase in reports to the police
To underpin this, the Government is increasing funding to the Safer Streets Fund, which is used to implement public safety measures, such as a national campaign to raise awareness of the issue, and £3m will also be invested to better understand how to prevent this violence from occurring.
In addition, the Government will also launch a £5m Safety of Women at Night fund, and pilot a new tool called StreetSafe, where the public can anonymously report unsafe areas.
The strategy also outlines steps already taken by the Government to reduce violence against women and children, including:
- raising the maximum penalties for stalking and harassment
- ending the automatic early release of violent and sexual offenders from prison
- introducing a mandatory duty for frontline professionals to report cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) to the police
RASASC Chief Executive Officer Lesley Devonport said:
“While we are pleased that the Government is investing in tacking overall violence against women and girls, victims and survivors of sexual abuse can often be overlooked within this agenda. Rape and sexual abuse is a crime that affects all genders, sexualities, and demographics and there is some way to go to ensure the service needs for all victims are met.
“Services such as RASASC – which works to support all survivors of rape and sexual abuse across Surrey – are in great demand, and sadly, we, like many others, are under-resourced. While the national focus on violence against women and girls is to be applauded, it should not be at the expense of the many survivors of rape, sexual assault and unwanted sexual experiences who are currently in desperate need of help and support.”
To read the new Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls strategy, visit GOV.UK.