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24 July, 2023

1 YEAR ON: Commissioner Zoë shares progress made to address Violence Against Women and Girls in North Yorkshire and York 

Commissioner Zoe smiling and looking towards the camera
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe has today launched a 1-year delivery plan progress report detailing the work that’s taken place in North Yorkshire and York over the last 12 months to keep women and girls safe and feeling safe. 

This work is being led by the Joint Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Delivery Group, made up of representatives from local statutory partners who set six objectives to tackle violence against women and girls back in June 2022, and who are now responsible for ensuring outcomes are delivered.   

In the last 12 months there has been: 

  • A 154% increase in positive outcomes from those accessing support services
  • Additional £905,000 invested in victim services in 2022/23, with a further £931,880 invested in 2023/24
  • 12% more total referrals into all commissioned victims’ services last year compared to the year before
  • Over 1,000 North Yorkshire Police first responders trained to better identify domestic abuse
  • Vulnerability training for 189 night-time economy workers 
  • 116 trained stalking champions and advocates
  • 3 times more women offered support when identified as being at risk of exploitation, including sexual exploitation and women affected by County Lines 
  • 35 Illegal Cultural Harms training sessions for 1,245 frontline workers

To support these outcomes, Commissioner Zoë and her team have:  

  • Invested in the voice of Victims in a commissioned review that looked at the experience of victims and survivors of crime and made recommendations on how services in York and North Yorkshire can further support them in future. This is available on the Commissioner’s website: northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/womenandgirls 
  • Commissioned the Suzy Lamplugh Trust to complete a victim focused review of North Yorkshire Police’s response to stalking locally, which identified a number of positive areas of work but also some potential areas for development which Commissioner Zoe is working with the police to address.
  • Commissioned specialist stalking training to 116 front line staff from the Police, Fire and Rescue service, the Commissioner’s Office, plus local victim services, local authorities and the local NHS Trust. 
  • Secured Safer Streets Funding to raise awareness of stalking amongst 16-24 year-olds in the hope that it encourages more young people to seek support if they have been a victim of This funding was used to commission the production of ‘Just A Kiss’, a Stalking Awareness film that will be split into short episodes to be released via social media and will be launched later this year. 
  • Produced a series of seven videos showcasing the support services available to women and girls locally, including interviews with service users to encourage others to come forward and seek help. These can be viewed on the Commissioner’s YouTube Channel: https://bit.ly/vawg-videos
  • Contributed financially to a specially converted campervan to go out and provide support to women and girls in rural and isolated parts of the county.
  • Launched a survey to better understand overall public trust and confidence in North Yorkshire Police, the findings of which will be used to better support women and girls to report VAWG offences: https://bit.ly/TrustConfidence 
  • Ongoing Investment in a new victim’s center which is currently going through planning and refurbishment and will hold the sexual assault referral center and child sexual assault assessment services for York and North Yorkshire
  • Signed up to a pledge with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust to increase the number of stalking cases reported to North Yorkshire Police. 
  • The Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner became a White Ribbon UK Supporter Organisation in November 2022 and is linking in with organisaions locally to fulfil this commitment and encourage others to get involved. 

Work to deliver the VAWG strategy in North Yorkshire and York remains ongoing and to support this, a VAWG Professionals Sub-Group was established which in December 2022 made up of representatives from local organisations working with women and girls including the Youth Commission.   

The group meets twice a year to support and inform delivery of the VAWG strategy’s objectives, ensure the voices of women and girls are captured through the services that support them, and to Identify shared barriers and challenges that they have experienced and work collaboratively to find solutions.  

Additionally, Commissioner Zoë has established a VAWG Strategic Governance Board to monitor progress against the six objectives to provide transparency and accountability on how police, fire and other local organisations are collectively improving the overall safety of women and girls. The board has come together twice and the highlights from the latest meeting can be viewed on the Commissioner’s YouTube Channel:

Commissioner Zoë said:    

“One year on, I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved as a partnership to tackle violence against women and girls, we have already improved outcomes and increased the accessibility of specialist support services for women and girls more the year before we launched the strategy, demonstrating how putting a spotlight on violence against women and girls is making a real difference across our community.  

“Our work as a partnership has included research, surveys, focus groups, financial investment, service improvement, awareness campaigns and new ways of working all in the effort to create tangible change and ensure women and girls are safe and feeling safe living in our county. This won’t stop, there is still more to be done”  

“Protecting and supporting women and girls will always be incredibly important to me and it’s something I’m passionate about making a difference in during my time as Commissioner. I will continue to work alongside other Police, fire, and Crime Commissioners from up and down the country, to influence and put pressure on government decisions around how we tackle Violence Against Women and girls on a national scale.”  

To progress the VAWG delivery plan over the next six months, Commissioner Zoë and her team will focus on:   

  • Launching a new Violence Against Women and Girls Public Survey on 31st July 2023 for anyone affected by Violence Against Women and Girls, including men, boys, transgender and non-binary people to share their experiences and views on what more we should be doing collectively to address these issues. This will be regularly reviewed. 
  • Developing and progressing the Women’s Whole System Approach to ensure that more women and girls are offered an appropriate gender-specific offer of support, particularly women in rural and isolated areas of the county and seldom-heard women
  • The development of bespoke educational packages to tackle the root causes of violence against women and girls and to promote a zero-tolerance approach to misogyny 
  • Regularly reviewing Public Trust & Confidence Survey results to identify Victim Satisfaction Measures for North Yorkshire Police’s response to Violence Against Women and Girls

More information on what Commissioner Zoë and local statutory partners are doing to address violence against women and girls in North Yorkshire and York can be found on the Commissioner’s website: www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/womenandgirls/  

Download the VAWG Infographic