PCC shines a light on issues affecting women and girls this International Women's Day
It is right that on International Women’s Day the whole community shines a light on the issues that disproportionately affect women and girls – including sexual crimes, domestic abuse, stalking and harassment.
I am wholly committed to improving and developing services designed to both protect women and, for those that do fall victim, help them to recover and heal.
While I am proud of the work that I have done since I was elected PCC, I know that more can and will be done to protect women across the whole of Lincolnshire.
In partnership with the force there are a raft of initiatives and projects that have been launched in the last two years alone:
- I supported the county’s first ever Stalking Conference where experts and officials gathered to share experience, best practice and advice on the growing problem. The event, designed to bring partners together to tackle the crime, was attended by more than 100 delegates.
- Lincolnshire’s Sexual Assault Referal Centre (SARC), which my office funds, has recently received a prestigious Quality Mark for its services.
- I have recently commissioned a mental, physical and sexual health needs assessment to identify the needs of sexual violence and abuse survivors in Lincolnshire.
- ‘I brought together more than 130 professionals from children’s services, charities and policing to attend the Lincolnshire’s first Domestic Abuse Conference. The aim of the event was to ease the sharing of information and knowledge in a bid to improve services for victims in the county.
- I successfully secured, jointly with Sussex, £1.4m from the Home Office to launch a pilot project to help change abusers’ behaviour. The funding has supported training for officers and support for families.
- I worked cross party with colleagues at the City of Lincoln Council to establish the Lincoln City Intervention Team – designed to support men and women who were drug dependent, sleeping rough or with mental health issues to get them the help they need.
- Understanding the nature or rural domestic abuse, often hidden, is important if we are to tackle it so I commissioned a survey designed to understand in detail the issues it has provided valuable intelligence to help us provide the services victims need.
While I recognise the importance of working with partners to address the issues it is equally important to understand the context of crime figures relating to sexual offences.
Firstly more than a third of sexual offences reported to Lincolnshire Police are non-recent – and that is encouraging because it suggests more women and men have the confidence to come forward and report sexual crimes than ever before.
It is also crucial the public understands that random attacks are still extremely rare in Lincolnshire. Only ten per cent of sexual offences reported to police occurred in a public place.
In these cases the Force has an excellent record of tracking down and arresting offenders and my commitment to provide 120 additional officers will only help to keep our streets safe.