Britain is ramping up its efforts to end the epidemic of violence on women and girls, admitting that authorities “cannot do it alone.”
In an interim report, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) urged councils, schools, health, social care organisations, and all other areas concerning the criminal justice system to work hand in hand to address the problem.
This after a series of cases involving violence against women and girls has raised the profile of such offence, including the death of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, of Julia James, a police community support officer in Kent who was said to be killed while walking out her dog, as well as the case of sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman last year.
According to the inspectorate, there was a need for an “immediate and unequivocal commitment” that the response to violence against women and girls should be deemed an absolute priority for the government, policing, the criminal justice system and public sector partnerships—backed up by funding.
It was also suggested that the Home and Office and other government departments should consider proposing a statutory duty on partner agencies to collectively take action to prevent harm caused by violence against women and girls.
Authorities should likewise pursue adult perpetrators, disrupt such offences, and funded to ensure that victims receive tailored and consistent support.
“We are living during a national epidemic of violence against women and girls. The prevalence and range of offending and harm are stark and shocking. We are clear that the police have made great progress over the last decade against a backdrop of greater demand, and we want forces to maintain this momentum and build on these improvements,” said Her Majesty’s inspector of constabulary, Zoë Billingham.
“But there is still evidence of inconsistent support for victims and low prosecution rates…[and] urgent action is needed to uproot and address this and police cannot solve this alone,” she added.
“There must be a seamless approach to preventing and tackling violence against women and girls across the whole system, including education, local authorities, health, social care and those from across the criminal justice system—with all agencies working together.”
Last year alone, England and Wales recorded some 1.6 million women experiencing domestic abuse, while some 154,000 offences were linked to rape, in which 84 per cent of the victim count involved females.