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It is the 10th week of a 12-week surge to tackle Northamptonshire Police’s four Matters of Priority, and this week of action is once again focused on reducing violence against women and girls (VAWG).
Everyone has a part to play in helping to tackle this issue by actively calling out misogyny and sexist behaviours when it’s safe to do so.
VAWG centres around certain violent and abusive crimes that women and girls are disproportionately affected by, including rape and sexual offences, domestic abuse, honour-based abuse, and stalking and harassment.
Detective Chief Inspector Hayley Costar is leading the week of action, she said: “As well as serious violent and abusive offences, women and girls are also more likely to be affected by inappropriate contact, catcalling, misogyny, explicit messaging, and unwanted touching – and although these behaviours may not all meet a criminal threshold, they could be precursors for further offending, and add to women feeling unsafe – so whatever society can do to collectively call out and end this type of behaviour will be enormously beneficial.”
DCI Costar heads up the Force’s Domestic Abuse Investigation Unit and sees first-hand the devastating effects that violent and abusive relationships can have on victims.
She said: “We should all be able to live our lives without fear, intimidation or harassment - no matter what our gender – but sadly this is not the case, so we must do all in our power to protect the vulnerable, stop the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
“Part of our work during the week of action will be checking that protection orders and bail conditions are being adhered to by offenders – so that victims are safeguarded.
“In addition, we will be appealing to local employers to do all they can to support domestic abuse victims. A victim’s workplace may be the only place where their activities are not monitored by their abuser and where they can seek the help of colleagues, friends and managers.
“Employers can play a huge role in helping victims of domestic abuse and so we will be sharing information with local firms about the ‘Employers Initiative on Domestic Abuse’ which offers a range of free resources to help employers increase their understanding of domestic abuse and better support victims in their workforce.”
The Force will also be sharing information about stalking, explaining the signs and behaviours to look out for, how to report and seek help, and how to reduce opportunities for cyberstalking. Officers will be reminded of the tools available for dealing with stalking offences - including the use of stalking protection orders.
A range of learning opportunities for police officers and police staff is on offer during the week of action, and the Force is holding a special professional development event with partners, to ensure that victims get the very best outcomes and continue to access professional help and support.
If you or someone you know is experiencing violence or domestic abuse please report online, on 101 or call 999 in an emergency. If you are not ready to talk to the police there are other organisations that can support you. More information here.
Violence Against Women and Girls is one of four Matters of Priority for Northamptonshire Police - the others are Drug Harm, Serious and Organised Crime and Serious Violence.