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Commissioner Zoë – Statement of Intent

Informing our overarching North Yorkshire and York, Violence against Women and Girls Strategy and Delivery Plans

As Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire and the City of York tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (“VAWG”) is one of my main priorities. I want to ensure women and girls feel safe, whether at home, in work or education settings, or when out and about in our towns and cities. I am committed to achieving this by working together with our partners to deliver a joint North Yorkshire and City of York VAWG Strategy.

My key strategic commitments include:

  • Developing in partnership the accompanying joint VAWG Strategy which sets out our local objectives to tackle all forms of VAWG
  • Developing in partnership joint Delivery Plans that will underpin our VAWG Strategy and clearly set out what we will do to tackle VAWG and what outcomes we will achieve
  • Developing and Chairing a bi-annual strategic governance board to monitor and report progress to the public on the outcomes achieved against our VAWG Strategic Objectives
  • Working with partners to improve overall compliance with the Victims’ Code, which describes the levels of support victims and survivors can and should expect from the criminal justice system
  • Monitoring levels of public trust and confidence in North Yorkshire Police and holding the force to account in respect of their responses to VAWG
  • Pledging in partnership with Suzy Lamplugh Trust to work with North Yorkshire Police and local stakeholders to increase the number of stalking reports

It is essential that the voices of women and girls remain central to the delivery of this Strategy and accompanying Delivery Plans so we will continue to speak to women and girls about their individual experiences, and local organisations working with them, to ensure:

  • Victims feel they are heard
  • Victims feel they are believed
  • Trauma aware responses begin with initial disclosure to the police & extend across the whole Criminal Justice System
  • Education of young people is a priority to learn appropriate behaviours from an early age

My local vision for tackling all forms of VAWG fully aligns with the Home Office’s ambitious national strategic vision as outlined in their ‘National Statement of Expectations’. Recognising ‘that with effective earlier intervention, joint working and a drive to challenge the culture and attitudes that give rise to all forms of abuse, the number of these crimes can be substantially reduced.’

These national expectations, along with my commissioning commitments, have helped to shape our local VAWG Strategic Objectives:

  1. Listening to All Women & Girls, including those from under-represented communities, and proactively seeking feedback to inform continuous service improvement – we know from speaking with local support services, victims and survivors that reported crimes only form part of the picture and there is still more to do to fully understand the impact of VAWG so we will work in partnership to seek victim feedback at key points in the victim journey, to identify and address key recurring issues and will undertake a Victims Needs Assessment in 2022 to inform the continuous improvement of locally commissioned support services. 
  1. Prevention & Early Intervention to tackle the root causes of VAWG – challenging everyday sexism and misogyny is key to tackling the root causes of VAWG, therefore we will work with our local education partners to co-develop and co-produce age-appropriate campaign work to challenge misogyny from an early age. 
  1. Increasing Public Confidence & Trust in the Police – in 2022 we will begin a program of work to enable us to continually track the level of public confidence and trust in North Yorkshire Police. 
  1. Strengthening the Multi-Agency Approach to Address VAWG – we will support the expansion of multi-agency work focussed on identifying and supporting victims of all forms of VAWG. We will continue to develop the multi-agency partnership model to safeguard those involved in sex work, survival sex or at risk of sexual exploitation by expanding our York Women’s Centre provision into North Yorkshire to ensure that women in rural or isolated communities are able to receive a dedicated gender-specific and trauma-aware service. 
  1. Enhancing Support Services for Victims – our new Victims’ Centre will improve the overall experience of victims of sexual violence accessing forensic medical and crisis support services via our Sexual Assault Referral Centre and Child Sexual Assault Assessment Services. The Victims’ Centre will also provide a dedicated Video-Recorded Interview (“VRI”) suite for these victims to be able to provide their best evidence, as well as a separate VRI suite for other vulnerable victims and witnesses. 
  1. Facilitating Behaviour Change by Perpetrators – we will expand the availability and awareness of, and engagement with early intervention behaviour change programmes in relation to perpetrators of Domestic Abuse, Sexual Violence, Stalking, Illegal Cultural Harms, and Hate Crime.By putting all women and girls at the centre of our VAWG Strategy, we aim to significantly enhance the services we already offer, alongside an innovative and ambitious new programme of work to address all forms of VAWG, ultimately making North Yorkshire and City of York one of the safest places in the country for all women and girls.