Jude Watson, Violence against Women Strategy Manager, Equality and Diversity Unit, Crown Prosecution Service
According to Home Office figures, in 2010 there were over 1 million female victims of domestic abuse, 101 women were murdered by their ex-partner, 300,000 women were sexually assaulted and 60,000 were raped. Disturbingly, more than one third of all rapes recorded by the police are committed against children under 16 years of age. It is estimated that the minimum cost of providing public services, including health, social and legal services, to female victims of violence is £36.7bn annually. Notably, these figures do not include the substantial number of victims who never report such crimes.
Pledging to end violence against women and girls, the Government has placed prevention at the heart of its strategy, ‘Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls’ (March 2011), endeavouring to strengthen early intervention and challenge existing attitudes and behaviours that give rise to gender-specific violence. The strategy also stresses the need to improve support for victims and their families, working in partnership to obtain the best outcome when violence has occurred. Underlining its commitment to reducing the risk to women and girls, the government aims to increase the number of perpetrators brought to justice by 2015.
Whilst prioritising the eradication of violence against women and girls nationally, the Government is clear that greater emphasis must be placed on addressing the issue at a local level, where services can be tailored to local needs. Seeking to nurture the conditions required for the statutory sector, third sector and local communities to work together efficiently, the Government has pledged to give the tools and information necessary to maximise existing services, alongside £28m of funding to provide stability to the women’s voluntary and community sector.
One year on from the launch of the Government’s strategy to end VAWG, this timely symposium provides an invaluable opportunity for local authorities and practitioners from across the police, social and health services to assess progress made over the last year and explore the next steps in tackling violence against women and girls.
- Examine the progress made in preventing VAWG through education, raising awareness and community engagement
- Explore how to further bolster the women’s community sector through transparency, joint commissioning and partnership working
- Discuss how to reduce the risk to women through earlier intervention and improving the safety of stalking victims
- Consider how to improve justice outcomes for victims and strengthen the management and rehabilitation of offenders
For further information or to register for a place at the event, please visit the Public Policy Exchange website.