Merseyside Police welcomes report about progress made in tackling violence against women and girls
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Merseyside Police has today welcomed the National Police Chief’s Council and the College of Policing progress report into the policing response to Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG), following an inspection of all forces across the country.
The report covers work underway across policing nationally, regionally and locally. It follows up on the national framework that was set for all forces in 2021 to improve their response to VAWG through the implementation of operational action plans.
The report looks at the progress made to date and highlights potential gaps and areas for improvement. It also recognises there have been vast improvements in the response to VAWG both over the last decade, and more recently, in relation to how police forces respond to and investigate VAWG.
The report highlights the progress made nationally in respect of building trust and confidence; relentlessly pursuing perpetrators, and establishing safer spaces.
Here on Merseyside our work continues relentlessly and at pace, and we have made several changes in our policing response to improve the service we provide to women and girls. We have:
Listened to the voices of women and girls via a forum held with survivors to help us introduce an holistic trauma informed response, through better understanding of the survivor’s journey and to increase awareness of officers who will be working with survivors
Improved contact with schools officers and commissioned work with the Violence Reduction Partnership to produce a play about street harassment of girls in a bid to educate all schoolchildren (girls and boys) about how to deal with street harassment; the impact that behaviours can have on others and what is and isn’t acceptable
Commissioned insight with an agency to inform external communications and to consult residents across Merseyside so we can better understand what our communities are concerned about in relation to VAWG and what we can do, with our partners, to address their concerns and make Merseyside safe for all
Agreed to carry out a bi-annual confidence survey for the next three years that will include women’s voices and enable us to see changes over time
Worked closely with partners across Merseyside in the Strategic Domestic Violence and Abuse Group (SDVAG) and Strategic Sexual Violence Group (SVSG) meetings to ensure the victims’ voices are a priority for the strategic partnerships
Our Community Engagement Unit is working with minority communities to raise awareness of the support available within those communities
Worked with partners to secure Safer Streets 4 funding in Liverpool, which was used to carry out an in-depth survey to understand the safety concerns of women when they have an evening out in the city and local town centres
Provided vulnerability training for all frontline officers’, to consider the victims voice
Introduced aproactive policing response, Operation Empower, which is aimed at preventing sexual violence within the city centre and town centres where officers are deployed into hotspot night-time economy (NTE) locations and are briefed to look for predatory type behaviour towards women and girls
Reviewed how we investigate rape and the support services available to support victims of sexual assault
Introduced weekly scrutiny meeting, which look at our domestic abuse response
Piloted multi-agency group meetings within local authorities to target the most risky domestic abuse offenders
Trained frontline officers to challenge disrespectful internal behaviour including sexism
Reviewed and identified learning from complaints against officers related to VAWG
Increased resources within our dedicated rape unit
Supported football events for girls to help build confidence and develop skills to enable them to reach their potential
Chief Superintendent Ngaire Waine, VAWG lead for Merseyside Police, said: “I welcome the review which has examined the progress that has been made nationally and ensures that we, and other forces across the country, remain accountable. We have worked tirelessly throughout the last 18 months, alongside our partners including local authorities, support agencies and the third sector, to protect women and girls who are faced with violence and sexual abuse. Together we have introduced a number of initiatives aimed at preventing sexual violence and raising awareness across Merseyside.
“Violence against women and girls in any form in not acceptable and Merseyside Police has a number of initiatives in place to ensure the response to crimes of this nature are prioritised and that the appropriate policing activity is put in place to address the safety of women and girls in the city and our town centres."
She added: “We know the strength of working together in partnership when it comes to tackling VAWG and supporting vulnerable people. We already meet on a regular basis with our strategic partners and review demand for services to ensure victims are supported and able to access vital services.
“As a society we need to continue to take a strong stance against attacks on women and girls who should be empowered to live their lives without fear of sexual objectification, harassment, or physical and mental abuse.
“Together with our partners, Merseyside Police is actively addressing the fears being raised about violence against women, with the ultimate aim of making our streets safer for women and girls.”
Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth, National police lead for tackling Violence Against Women and Girls said:“I am determined we will continue to learn and develop so that keeping women and girls safe, and feeling safe, remains at the forefront of policing’s priorities and actions. Policing is determined to improve. This report sets out the start of that improvement journey. Policing recognises that there is still much to do and prioritise.”