As Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, I have made a firm commitment to combat all forms of violence against women and girls. To achieve this, my office has been collaborating closely with Surrey Police, partner agencies and local charities to bring attention to the inappropriate behaviour of some men, to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions, and to ensure that victims of these heinous crimes receive the best possible assistance and support.
Key progress during 2022/23:
- Award winning interventions: Our unwavering focus on tackling Violence Against Women and Girls received national recognition in October 2022 when Surrey Police won the annual Tilley Award, set up by the Home Office in 1999 to celebrate problem-oriented projects that have achieved success in resolving issues faced by the police, partners and the community. The award was in recognition of work undertaken to ensure the safety of women and girls using the Basingstoke Canal in Woking, following several indecent exposures and suspicious incidents since 2019. Funding for this project was made available by my office after a successful bid to the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund.
- Targeting perpetrators: In March my team secured £2 million in government funding to launch a ground-breaking initiative to tackle domestic abuse and stalking in the county. This innovative project involves the creation of a county-wide Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Hub, staffed by expert intervention navigators who will work together to reduce the risks faced by survivors of abuse. By targeting perpetrators early, the Hub aims to address the root causes of their behaviour and provide support to survivors and their families. Additionally, the Hub will prioritise the needs of children and young people who are already showing signs of violent or abusive behaviour in their relationships, helping to break the cycle.
- Strengthening local partnerships: In December I welcomed 390 participants to a sobering webinar on domestic abuse, homicide and victim support. The webinar included talks from experts including Professor Jane Monckton-Smith of the University of Gloucestershire, who spoke about the ways in which all agencies can recognise the links between domestic abuse, suicide and homicide, in order to improve the support provided to survivors of abuse and their families before harm escalates. Participants also heard from Dr Emma Katz of Liverpool Hope University, whose ground-breaking work highlights the impact of perpetrators’ coercive and controlling behaviour on mothers and children. The seminar is part of a series of events I am running, focused on strengthening Domestic Homicide Reviews that are carried out to identify learning to prevent new homicides or suicides in Surrey. It complements the embedding of a new process for reviews in Surrey, with the aim that every organisation understands the role they play.
- Teacher training: Schools in Surrey have been invited to apply for a new teacher training programme which has been fully funded by my office. The programme commenced in March and aims to build self-confidence in children to enable them to live safe and fulfilled lives and to better recognise inappropriate behaviour. It comes after my team secured almost £1million from the Home Office’s What Works Fund. Teachers will join key partners from Surrey Police and domestic abuse services for three days of training, which will explore how best to embed these concepts within the PSHE curriculum.
- Embedding understanding of violence against women and girls: Legally Qualified Chairs (LQCs) are independent individuals who oversee police misconduct hearings. The management of LQCs is one of the roles of my office and we have begun looking at how we embed specific training around violence against women and girls into both the recruitment and Continuing Professional Development process.
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