Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey Lisa Townsend has welcomed a new strategy unveiled by the Home Office today to tackle violence against women and girls.
It calls on police forces and partners to make reducing violence against women and girls an absolute national priority, including the creation of a new policing lead to drive change.
The Strategy highlights the need for a whole-system approach that invests further in prevention, the best possible support for victims and tough action against perpetrators.
Commissioner Lisa Townsend said: “The launch of this strategy is a welcome reiteration by the Government of the importance of tackling violence against women and girls. This is an area that I feel really passionate about as your Commissioner, and I’m particularly pleased that it includes a recognition that we must keep the focus on offenders.
“I’ve been out meeting local organisations and Surrey Police teams that are at the forefront of the partnership to tackle all forms of sexual violence and abuse in Surrey, and that are providing care to the individuals affected. We’re working together to strengthen the response we provide across the county, including ensuring our efforts to prevent harm and support victims reach minority groups.”
In 2020/21, the Office of the PCC provided more funds to address violence against women and girls than ever before, including development of a new stalking service with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and local partners.
Funding from the PCC’s Office helps provide a wide range of local services, including counselling, dedicated services for children, a confidential helpline, and professional support for individuals navigating the criminal justice system.
The announcement of the Government’s Strategy follows a number of actions taken by Surrey Police, including a Surrey wide – consultation responded by over 5000 women and girls on community safety, and improvements to the Force’s Violence against Women and Girls Strategy.
The Force Strategy contains a new emphasis on tackling coercive and controlling behaviour, enhanced support for minority groups including the LGBTQ+ community, and a new multi-partner group focussed on male perpetrators of crimes against women and girls.
As part of the Force’s Rape & Serious Sexual Offence Improvement Strategy 2021/22, Surrey Police maintain a dedicated Rape and Serious Offence Investigation Team, supported by a new team of Sexual Offence Liaison Officers established in partnership with the PCC’s office.
The publication of the Governments Strategy coincides with a new report by AVA (Against Violence & Abuse) and Agenda Alliance that highlights local authorities’ and commissioners’ important role in tackling violence against women and girls in a way that acknowledges the relationships between gender-based violence, and multiple disadvantage that includes homelessness, substance misuse and poverty.