Police chief calls for public input on plan to tackle violence against women

Northumberland’s Police and Crime Commissioner is carrying out a public consultation to shape a strategy tackling violence against women.

By Joshua Wright
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 11:06 am
The new public consultation will help to form a plan to tackle the scourge of violence against women.

Plans to tackle crimes such as domestic abuse and sexual violence are being drawn up for the Northumbria Police force area.

Commissioner Kim McGuinness has launched a major public consultation inviting local people from around their region to share their concerns, experiences and ideas to help shape plans to combat the issue of violence against women.

The Violence Against Women and Girls strategy will focus on supporting victims, preventing abuse and violence beforehand, working with perpetrators and system change. The consultation survey can be completed here.

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Figures for the Northumbria Police force operational area have revealed that 42 domestic homicides have been recorded since 2011 as well as 4,438 sexual assaults reported in Northumberland in 2019/20 alone.

Nationally, 1 in 3 women and girls will reportedly experience some form of sexual abuse in their lifetime.

In addition, in the year ending March 2020 alone, there were an estimated 618,000 female victims (aged 16-74) and 155,000 male victims of sexual assault (including attempts). 98.3% of perpetrators were male.

With the numbers of violence against women and girls-related reports to police increasing each year, the need to address violence, abuse and misogyny in Northumberland and beyond is an important issue to tackle for PCC Kim McGuinness.

As a local campaigner around the treatment of women and girls, the commissioner says when it comes to the scale of the problem the numbers speak for themselves.

The abuse the police know about, just like other forces, is likely to be only the tip of the iceberg, Kim said, and it is estimated that only 15% of sexual offences are reported to the police.

She said: “Not only as your Police and Crime Commissioner, but as a woman, I am passionate about fighting for a North East where our girls and women are safe and free from abuse, violence and inequality.

“I’m grateful to be in a position where I can drive real change forward, and I know there are many others across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear who share this aim

"We want to lead the way with this. From service specialists and police officers, right through to young girls and their mams who know these crimes disproportionately affect them – people want violence against women and girls to end once and for all.”

Kim added: “I’m all for open and honest conversation around this. I’m here to listen and I’m so appreciative of anyone who responds - whether that’s sharing their experiences or challenging for improvement. Together, I want to look at issues that just aren’t going away and pave a way forward.

“Northumbria Police, thankfully, is one of the best in its approach to policing violence against women and girls but we don’t always get things right and the challenge remains a huge one.”

If you’ve witnessed or been the victim of crime, help and support is available from the Northumbria Victim and Witness Service on 0800 011 3116.