Skip to main content
Criminal Justice

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) take action against violence against women and girls 

Revolving Doors Agency (RDA) has published a new report, “Spotlight on violence against women and girls (VAWG)”. This spotlight, the sixth in the series, highlights how PCCs across the country are tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG), through strengthening service provision and using the convening and commissioning powers of their roles.

Around 1.2 million women across England have experienced significant physical and sexual abuse in their lives, in some causes causing mental health problems, homelessness and substance misuse.

A recent review of police and crime plans carried out by Revolving Doors Agency found that almost all Police and Crime Plans identified VAWG as a key vulnerability or need .  However, only a third of plans included VAWG as a strategic priority. Considering the prevalence of VAWG and its severe consequences, the report argues that it is vitally important that national and local leaders adopt a robust approach to tackle it.

The Spotlight on VAWG demonstrates that increasingly PCCs are adopting approaches which address the underlying causes such as gender inequality, racial and ethnic discrimination, and social exclusion such as:

Prevention and early identification: An approach demonstrated by the PCC for Bedfordshire, Kathryn Holloway, who is leading a multi-agency approach to provide targeted support for vulnerable individuals at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of VAWG crimes.

Early intervention and diversion: North Yorkshire PCC Julia Mulligan’s Respect Programme, an initiative that supports and diverts children and young people flagged as being at risk of committing domestic violence.

Building community capacity: Surrey PCC’s David Munro is at the forefront of this, harnessing the power of Surrey Minority Ethnic Forum (SMEF) which works alongside and in partnership with BAME communities which are at risk of FGM (female genital mutilation), forced marriage or ‘honour-based’ violence.

Deterrence to address repeat victimsation: Sussex PCC Katy Bourne, Essex PCC Roger Hirst and South Wales PCC Alun Michael launched a project which focuses on deterring domestic violence perpetrators, addressing the root cause of the cycle of domestic violence and abuse.

Provision of intensive specialist support: is the driving force behind ‘Healthy Relationships, Families and Communities’ a programme commissioned by Gloucestershire PCC, Martin Surl, which delivers tailored workshops that educate, support and guide victims of domestic abuse.

Dame Vera Baird QC, PCC for Northumbria and APCC lead on VAWG said:

“The aim of our collective work around VAWG is simple – to make more help available so that whenever or wherever a victim feels able to seek help, there is someone with the correct training who can offer a route to safety. With the advent of the transformation fund, I’m delighted to see the emergence of innovative projects to deliver just that. Locally, the PTF Board and Home Office funding has enabled the growth of initiatives such as the Women’s Diversionary Support pathway and A Whole System Approach, which sees six North East forces collaborating to transform our response to domestic abuse. Such innovations clearly demonstrate our commitment to taking action against such abhorrent violence.”

Christina Marriott, Chief Executive of Revolving Doors Agency said:

“The experience of being victimised is almost universal in the lives of the women we work with in our forums.  Violence against women is both a cause and consequence of mental ill-health, substance misuse problems and the multiple problems we see women grappling with.  We are encouraged that PCCs are tackling VAWG and would encourage them to ensure that all women, including ethnic and sexual minorities, and disabled women are included in their planning.”