Plans to tackle violence against women and girls have been launched by the Home Secretary.
The ‘Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls – Action Plan’ was published alongside the government’s response to Baroness Stern’s review into the handling of rape complaints.
Today marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.
Key actions from the plan include:
* making data on regional levels of violence against women – including domestic abuse, sexual assault and stalking – more accessible to ensure resources are targeted to where they are most needed;
* new research aimed at countering the myth that false allegations of rape are common and an independent consultation on the measurement of rape conviction rates;
* a new national stalking group to support the work of the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Crown Prosecution Service in improving the police response to stalking and ensuring robust prosecutions;
* campaigns to raise awareness of the law around sexual offences and challenge attitudes of abuse within teenage relationships;
* more training for key frontline professionals – including doctors, nurses, health visitors – on identifying and dealing with violence against women; and
* sustainable central funding for frontline services including rape crisis centres and Independent Domestic Violence Advisors, and four years of funding for the National Domestic Violence Helpline.
Home Secretary Theresa May said:
“International Women’s Day is an excellent opportunity to highlight the many ways women are making a positive impact in this country and around the world. However more needs to be done to ensure that we provide the best possible start for future generations.
“I want to see an end to all forms of violence against women and girls. Our comprehensive and detailed action plan sets out how we are going to tackle these crimes – supporting those at risk, helping victims and ensuring offenders are brought to justice.
“Most importantly we need to prevent these crimes occurring in the first place. That is why we are challenging and where necessary working to change, attitudes and behaviours.”
Baroness Stern said:
“I welcome the government’s response to the recommendations in my report. Particularly in a time of financial stringency it is good that the government recognises the importance of a specialist and supportive response to rape victims.”
The detailed action plan follows the Home Office’s announcement of £28 million of funding until 2015 for tackling violence against women and girls and the Ministry of Justice announcement of more than £10.5 million of funding for three years for rape crisis services.
The action plans focuses on four key areas: the prevention of violence including reducing repeat victimisation, the provision of support, the bringing together of groups to work in partnership and action to reduce risk by ensuring perpetrators are brought to justice.