International Women’s Day: We need to come together to end violence against women
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International Women’s Day is a global event celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This year’s theme calls on all people – no matter how they identify – to speak out against bias, discrimination and stereotyping.
Detective Chief Inspector Nickie Deeks says International Women’s Day provides a good opportunity to discuss the disproportionate number of violent crimes perpetrated against women and girls. She believes the whole community needs to come together to challenge the attitudes and demeaning behaviours that drive violence and trivialise the abuse of women.
Biased, sexist attitudes can ultimately lead to serious crimes and violent behaviour towards women and girls. These crimes are many and varied and include domestic abuse, rape and sexual assault, honour-based violence, stalking and harassment.
According to the Office for National Statistics, a total of 40,572 women were victims of sexual assault in England and Wales in the year ending September 2021, an increase of 13 per cent from the previous year (35,029 offences). This is the highest number of sexual offences ever recorded within a 12-month period.
The police also recorded 872,911 offences related to domestic abuse in England and Wales in the year ending September 2021. This is a five per cent increase on the 835,319 offences recorded in the previous year.
DCI Deeks, who has the responsibility for developing the Force’s strategy to tackle violence against women and girls, said: “This issue cannot be solved by policing alone. It is a wider societal problem that needs a whole-system approach.
“Partner agencies and the public have a significant part to play in helping us to reduce and prevent this type of crime. Working in partnership, and working closely with our communities is a crucial part of our local response.
“Misogyny, sexism and discrimination should be called out by everyone, so it’s not normalised and so that perpetrators begin to understand their behaviour is unacceptable. Left unchallenged, this type of behaviour can escalate and turn into violence.
“Women and girls shouldn’t feel restricted. They should be able to live confidently, without feeling frightened, intimidated, or harassed. We want all women and girls who live, work, socialise or study in Northamptonshire to not only be safe but feel safe, whether that is in public spaces, at home or online.
“We will do everything we can in policing to prevent violence, by targeting and managing perpetrators, and we will use the skills of specialist officers to maximise investigation results. We will also work with the wider criminal justice service to improve outcomes for victims.
“I know the abhorrent abduction and murder of Sarah Everard a year ago, at the hands of a serving police officer, has eroded public trust and confidence in the police. We must therefore continue to raise our own professional standards within the Force, rooting out any and all predatory behaviour, to ensure we have a working environment that is respectful and inclusive of all sexes.
“I‘m pleased to say the Force has been busy, developing plans and working with our partners to help reduce violence against women and girls. An enormous amount of work has been undertaken and continues.
“We will soon be launching our Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, this will set out how we at Northamptonshire Police will use our powers, responsibilities and opportunities to prevent crime, protect victims, and robustly investigate offences, and vigorously pursue the perpetrators to make our streets safer.
“We will continue to work collaboratively and proactively with partner agencies and with specialist support services.
“With their support, and with the support of the public we can make Northamptonshire a safer place for all. By working together, we can help to stop the verbal and physical abuse of women and girls in public spaces, online and in the home.”