PCC's statement on violence against women and girls
As Police and Crime Commissioner I have always been clear in my commitment to make our communities feel and be safer. I consider the need to ensure that women and girls feel and are safe on our streets, in our schools, workplaces and in their homes to be of paramount importance.
It is well known that certain crimes are disproportionately committed by men and boys against women and girls. It is important to acknowledge this to be the case and to be clear that the person to blame in these cases is always the perpetrator of the crime and not their victim.
We have seen recent and very welcome action being taken nationally by policing to address the very real issues regarding the low level of rape charges going to court and those subsequently being found guilty.
More locally I know that our Force takes the issue of violence against women and girls very seriously and that the Chief Constable is clear in his commitment to work with me to make all residents feel and be safer.
However, I also recognise these issues cannot be solved by enforcement alone. That is why I have been diligent in working with partners from across the county to ensure we address the issue in a holistic way that will provide long-lasting solutions.
Among the projects and work undertaken under my leadership at the OPCC are:
- Since my re-election in May I have agreed to fund a new £3m Harm Reduction Unit which will tackle domestic abuse, drugs, sexual crimes, violence and the use of knives.
- Two successful bids for the Safer Streets fund have brought £500,000 into Lincolnshire to finance innovative new CCTV and street lighting systems in Gainsborough and the East Coast.
- The establishment of Lincolnshire’s first ever Youth Commission on Police, Crime and Community Safety - a ground-breaking project to ensure young men and women have a voice in how Lincolnshire is policed. The Commission was established to enable young people aged 14 to 25 to be consulted on policing, crime and community safety issues.
- Created a new Victims website and social media presence - The first ever Lincolnshire website dedicated to helping victims find the support they need. Anyone who has been the victim of crime in Lincolnshire – regardless of whether the crime was reported to the police or not- can now access support, information and practical advice all under one virtual roof thanks to a new online portal.
- Needs assessment for survivors of sexual abuse – my office and NHS England jointly commissioned a needs assessment for victims and survivors of sexual abuse or assault. The findings are now being used to improve support and outcomes for victims and survivors in Lincolnshire.
- Domestic abuse early intervention - The domestic abuse early intervention and response project in Lincolnshire is aimed at perpetrators and has been funded through a series of successful bids to Government, the National Lottery and in partnership with Lincolnshire Police and Lincolnshire County Council. The project aims to support communities, friends and families to identify perpetrators so agencies can intervene at an early stage.
- My office funded and organised Lincolnshire’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.
- Funded specialist Stalking Advocacy Training for local victim support providers.
- My office worked with partners to organise the county’s first Domestic Abuse Conference to ease the sharing of information and knowledge in a bid to improve services for victims in the county. In addition the OPCC has provided £33,000 to provide support for domestic abuse outreach and funded the appointment of an independent domestic violence advisor to work in hospitals.
- The support offered to rural domestic abuse victims in Lincolnshire was highlighted as the “leading edge” in a national report. The report from the National Rural Crime Network was published after an 18-month research project. Services in Lincolnshire, which was included in the research, were praised as being at the “leading edge of innovative and evidence led commissioning”.
- Under my tenure the OPCC has commissioned a range of services for victims an outreach service to provide emotional and practical support where needs are complex, or victims are vulnerable; a support for victims of sexual violence, including an adult Sexual Assault Referral Centre, a paediatric SARC and a Children and Young People’s Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (CHISVA).
- During the Covid-19 pandemic my office was successful in securing an additional £216,000 of funding to support services helping victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence. The money helped a raft of local charities providing services and support for victims of abuse during the lockdown.
- I have lobbied nationally to influence the introduction of laws against upskirting and virginity testing.
Nobody should walk our streets in fear, nobody should need to change what they wear to stave off lewd comments and approaches, nobody should accept that this is just how things are.
Though proud of what has been achieved so far here in Lincolnshire I recognise that the violence, abuse and fear suffered by women is still a deep scar in our communities and I will continue to do everything in my power to address the problem.