Everyone has the right to live their life free from fear, violence and suppression. No-one should be targeted, at home, online or when they are out and about, simply because they are female. But it happens. And it is unacceptable to me.
The Home Secretary’s Strategy to Tackle Violence Against Women and Girls, launched last week, provides a clear set of direction and action from the Government with which I can boost the work in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
As PCC I provide funding for many different organisations and I commission key services, such as those providing specialist support to victims of sexual and domestic abuse; those offering rehabilitation services to offenders, those who provide refuge accommodation and so on.
But we must, as the Home Secretary highlights, reduce the prevalence of violence against women and girls in the long term. This needs societal change, not a quick fix. In much the same way as we seek to provide effective early intervention in the fight against knife crime, we must teach young (very young) children that abuse is not normal, that they can speak out and that they should speak out.
I will shortly be launching the consultation on my Police and Crime Plan. It will include how I intend to focus attention on the protection of those deemed at risk. It will seek preventative measures in abundance to try and stop the stress, trauma and fear for those who live in the shadow of abuse.
This is one of the most under-reported crimes. Sadly, we probably hear about a tenth of the incidents. We must give people confidence to come forward, sure in the knowledge that they will receive help and support.
That is why I welcome this national strategy. It will give people like me the support I need to deliver practical solutions on a local basis, for local people.
I also noticed that there is money on the table. That would be useful. I will put in another bid.
In my manifesto I made it clear that I require the force to be outstanding at responding to and preventing domestic abuse, sexual offences and gratuitous violence. I want to see more compassion and kindness shown to victims. I want to see more perpetrators brought to justice. I want to see more people rehabilitated and more people learning from an early age what a healthy relationship looks like.
I haven’t changed any of those views. In fact, I am more determined now. And this strategy will help. Thank you, Home Secretary and thank you too to all those survivors who shared their experiences to make it the excellent and informed document it is.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland
Posted on Monday 26th July 2021