Gender Based Violence

Home Office written question – answered on 5 December 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Goudie Baroness Goudie Labour

To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to tackle violence against women and girls; and in particular, what steps they are taking in response to the goals of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls campaign.

Photo of Lord Sharpe of Epsom Lord Sharpe of Epsom The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is a government priority. VAWG is an unacceptable, preventable issue which blights the lives of millions.

We have made significant progress since we published the Tackling VAWG Strategy in July 2021 and the complementary Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan in March 2022, including action to tackle the causes of these crimes. We have supported the introduction of a new full-time National Policing Lead for VAWG, DCC Maggie Blyth, to help strengthen the police response as well as ratifying the Istanbul Convention on 21 July 2022, demonstrating to women in the UK and to our partners overseas our commitment to tackling VAWG.

One of the primary goals of The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is to educate people about gender equality and VAWG crimes. We have launched our national communications campaign, ‘Enough’, to challenge the harmful behaviours that exist within wider society, educate young people about healthy relationships and consent, and ensure victims can recognise abuse and receive support. Phase two of the campaign started on 25 October. Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) is also now a statutory part of the curriculum to educate children about the importance of respectful relationships, as well as issues such as domestic abuse and sexual consent.

The government has announced we will add VAWG to the Strategic Policing Requirement meaning it will be set out as a national threat for forces to respond to alongside other threats such as terrorism, serious and organised crime and child sexual abuse. We have also allocated £55 million to communities through the Safer Streets Fund and Safety of Women at Night Fund, including for extra CCTV, streetlighting and work to change attitudes and work to preventing VAWG in public spaces at night.

We have committed, by 2025, to have invested £75 million into perpetrator projects, research and interventions. This includes interventions like the Drive Project which targets high-risk domestic abuse perpetrators. It has reduced physical abuse by 82%, and jealous and controlling behaviours by 73%. And, we have doubled our funding for the National Domestic Abuse Helpline and will make it easier for more victims of domestic abuse to come forward by trialling the Ask for ANI codeword scheme in Jobcentre Plus Offices. The scheme currently operates in half of UK pharmacies and since 2021 there have been over 130 cases where pharmacists helped victims access support.

Through these actions we want to reduce the prevalence of VAWG crimes, whilst giving victims and survivors high-quality support to realise better outcomes.

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