£1 million invested into tackling violence against women by focusing on perpetrators and prevention

Violence Against Women and Girls will oversee a raft of prevention and intervention work as part of efforts to make the North East a safer place.

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Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness has launched a new plan to empower people, particularly men, to challenge poor attitudes and behaviours towards women.

Violence Against Women and Girls will oversee a raft of prevention and intervention work as part of efforts to make the North East a safer place.

£1 million will be invested into working with perpetrators of violence against women with a focus on prevention to protect people further. This has been funded by the Domestic Abuse Perpetrator’s fund.

Kim McGuinness said: “For me, this VAWG strategy sets out our stall with everything we need to be doing to drive real, lasting change. We owe it to the young girls growing up here in the North East. As well as continuing to ensure there is valuable support for victim-survivors and that we continue to improve their journey through the criminal justice system; I want to work towards a future where we don’t have victims at all.

The VAWG strategy acknowledges that men and boys can also be victim-survivors of VAWG crimes, and women can perpetrate abuse against men and other women. – in the year ending March 2020 alone, there were an estimated 618,000 female victims (aged 16-74) and 155,000 male victims of sexual assault (including attempts). 98.3% of perpetrators were male.

“Society needs a reset. Men absolutely need calling out when they make women feel uncomfortable. I want their friends to challenge their mate’s behaviour or actions, not pump them up or egg them on. If we intervene, we’re telling the perpetrator that their behaviour is not OK, but by saying nothing it’s almost an endorsement. This is the problem, and this plan is all about solutions. Work like the active bystander training is just one of many projects we want to build on to achieve that vision of a safer North East for everyone,” McGuinness continued.

Local businesses and organisations across the region have signed up to schemes to help challenge the culture. With Nissan, Hays Travel and, more recently, Northumbria Water all taking part in schemes such as domestic abuse champions scheme and the active bystander training.

The domestic abuse champions scheme trains staff to understand and spot the signs of domestic abuse so they can help others access support and raise awareness, whilst bystander training hopes to help people intervene when they view a particular situation as harmful or dangerous.

Vanessa Jardine, chief constable of Northumbria Police, said: “Tackling violence against women and girls is rightly an absolute priority for Northumbria Police.

“Abusive behaviour against women in any form is simply not acceptable and I therefore welcome and fully support any initiatives which will help tackle this.”

To view the strategy in full click here.

For information about help and support available to victims click here.