Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster has welcomed the introduction of a new countywide multi-agency strategy designed to consolidate and boost the work to reduce violence against women and girls (VAWG).
The Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, which has been signed by all the key partners in Derby City and Derbyshire who work to prevent this type of violence, provides a Derbyshire-centric approach to protecting and supporting those at risk. It builds upon the extensive work already underway, responds fully to the National Strategy, and harnesses the expertise and experience of all the partners into a streamlined delivery plan.
Commissioner Angelique Foster has been at the forefront of the work to agree this strategy, seeing the benefits of a single, unified approach. Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “Violence against women and girls is still far too prevalent in our society. That is why I have asked all the partners in Derbyshire, including Derbyshire Constabulary, Derbyshire County Council and Derby City Council and the eight district authorities to come together to develop and deliver this county-wide strategy.
“The creation of this Derbyshire-specific strategy to tackle violence against women and girls has brought all relevant partners and organisations together to set out their plans. It shows a strong commitment to this very significant agenda and an understanding that tackling it is the responsibility of all the agencies involved.
“Offences such as sexual violence, domestic abuse, stalking and harassment, female genital mutilation and forced marriage have no place in our society and we must show no tolerance for it. We owe women and girls in Derbyshire the best possible support and protection, and we must all help to keep them safe. This is an important step forward in the work to deliver that.”
The Derbyshire-specific VAWG Strategy outlines the key ways in which Derbyshire’s public sector agencies will work together to deliver change, seeking support from charities, the private sector, local communities and most importantly, listening to the voices of women and girls to improve the lives of people across our county.
It has been co-produced with the public and victims across Derbyshire and reflects the views and concerns raised through public consultation exercises carried out by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire (OPCC) between November 2021 – January 2022.
The Police and Crime Commissioner has made the work to tackle violence against women and girls a key priority within her Police and Crime Plan. This was strongly supported by one of our own MPs, Amanda Solloway, who has vowed to work with the Commissioner to help eradicate it. The Commissioner has scrutinised the approach of the Constabulary in this work with a performance scrutiny meeting and invested £2m in specialist services to support victims of crimes disproportionately affecting women and girls.
Councillor Matthew Eyre, Derby City Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Development, Place and Tourism said: “We’re pleased to have been involved in the development of this strategy, and to see it endorsed by local partners. By taking a Derbyshire-wide approach to tackling VAWG, we send a clear message of zero tolerance to gender-based violence.
“Derby City Council has been working alongside community partners to develop a raft of measures to improve safety for women and girls in Derby, including our successful Safe Derby campaign and the capital works to improve CCTV coverage and lighting in the city.
“The rights and needs of women and girls are at the heart of these pieces of work, and we look forward to continuing our work with the Commissioner and other partners.”
Chief Constable Rachel Swann said: “The police have unique powers, responsibilities and opportunities to reduce harm caused to women and girls. We can prevent crimes, investigate offences, pursue perpetrators and bring them to justice, protect women and girls, manage offenders and help make our streets safer. As the Chief Constable of Derbyshire Constabulary, we have pledged to tackle VAWG, but policing alone is not the solution. This joint strategy brings a partnership approach to deliver sustainable change, together, and ensures we listen to survivors and give future victims the confidence to step forward for help and support.”
Derbyshire County Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis said: “Significant progress has been made to tackle the many issues around violence against women and girls but it is acknowledged that more needs to be done.
“That’s why we are fully committed to what has been proposed and will work with all partners to continue to deliver change and ultimately ensure the safety of women and girls across Derbyshire.
“Tackling these issues must be a shared responsibility and we welcome the opportunity to play a key part in the drive to strengthen preventative measures as well as ensuring resources are in place so that victims have the confidence to step forward and seek help and support.”
The number of violent and sexual offences recorded in Derbyshire has risen considerably over recent years, largely due to an increased awareness of certain types of offences, increasing confidence amongst victims to report, and better recording practices. This provides agencies with more opportunities to engage with victims, and in turn offenders, to help prevent future offences being committed.
During 2020-2021, there were 19,625 violent crimes recorded by the police in Derbyshire. Of those, 8,605 cases resulted in injury (of which 49.3% involved female victims) and 11,020 cases resulted in no reported injury (of which 51.9% involved female victims).
The Strategy, which includes a delivery plan, highlights the work that will be undertaken to:
- Prevent violence against women and girls
- Support victims
- Pursue perpetrators and reduce re-offending
Commissioner – Sallie Blair 07702 541401
Derbyshire Constabulary: 0300 122 8903
Derby City Council 01332 643500
Derbyshire County Council 01629 538232
Photograph shows (L-R) Detective Chief Inspector Kerry Pope; Cllr Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council; Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster; Cllr Barry Lewis, Leader of Derbyshire County Council; and Assistant Chief Constable Michelle Shooter.