16 December, 2022

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

Front cover - Progress made to address Violence Against Women and Girls in North Yorkshire and York
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe has today launched a delivery plan detailing the work taking place in North Yorkshire and York 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 six months there has been:

  • Victim and Survivor focus groups involving over 30 women, and an anonymous open online survey which 332 people responded to, to ensure the voices of women and girls were heard. Participants provided specific feedback on the proposed six objectives and key areas of work, which helped to shape the final strategy
  • increased reporting of misogyny, stalking and street harassment to North Yorkshire Police
  • increased referrals into VAWG specialist victim support services
  • increased engagement with VAWG specialist victim support services
  • Improved Outcomes for victims accessing VAWG specialist support services.

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

  • Produced a series of short films 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 here: https://bit.ly/vawg-videos
  • Launched a new 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.
  • Secured £100,000 Safer Streets Funding to raise awareness of how stalking and harassment can manifest in rural communities as well as more urban environments. This will include the production of a short film and campaign resource pack aimed at young people aged 16 to 25yrs.
  • Signed up to a pledge with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust to increase the number of stalking cases reported to North Yorkshire Police. To support this, her Office have secured funding to commission an independent victim focussed review of current practices linked to stalking investigations and make recommendations where appropriate to improve processes linked to stalking and harassment.
  • The Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner is now a White Ribbon UK Supporter Organisation committed to raising awareness of the long established and harmful attitudes, systems and behaviors around masculinity that perpetuate gender inequality and helping to prevent violence against women and girls before it starts.

Work to deliver the VAWG strategy in North Yorkshire and York is ongoing and to oversee this progress and ensure a person-centred and trauma-informed approach, a VAWG professionals’ sub-group has been established, made up of representatives from local organisations working with women and girls including the Youth Commission.

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.

Commissioner Zoë said: 

“I’m proud of the progress we are making as a partnership to tackle violence against women and girls in North Yorkshire and York, whilst continuing to have dedicated services to support women and girls at incredibly vulnerable times in their lives – but there is still work to be done – as your Commissioner, I am committed to delivering on each objective set out in our VAWG strategy.

“Within six months of work, we have already improved outcomes for an increased number of victims accessing VAWG specialist support services than in the previous 12 months – demonstrating how putting a spotlight on VAWG is making a difference across our community.

“By June 2023 I hope we can create further tangible change that makes women and girls feel safe and be safe, wherever they are and whatever they are doing.”

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

  • Expanding the Gender- Specific Service Offer
  • Work with Educational establishments to raise awareness of VAWG, including Street Harassment
  • Facilitate a VAWG Community Champions Network or Forum
  • Develop ‘Safe Spaces’ to keep women and girls safe both in person in our city and town centres and online
  • Improve the experiences of those going through Criminal Justice processes
  • Pilot programmes / interventions for VAWG Offenders to meet gaps in current service provision

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/