Violence against women and girls
15 November 2016
- Reports of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in London are rising.
- The increase in reports should be seen as a success as more victims gain confidence to come forward.
- However, despite this good progress, violence against women and girls is significantly under-reported.
- The increase in reporting is placing resource pressure on the police and support services.
- Increased reporting has not translated into action against alleged perpetrators.
- The Police and Crime Plan presents an opportunity for the Mayor to strengthen efforts to make London a safer place to live.
- The London Assembly Police and Crime Committee examined the detail behind the rise in reports of violence against women and girls, the support available for victims and the ways in which partner organisations are working together to prevent it.
- The report, 'Violence against women and girls' highlights that increased reporting has not translated into action against perpetrators.
- The increase in reports of domestic and sexual offences implies that confidence to report has risen. The fact that formal action taken is low suggests that the Met’s resources have struggled to keep up with increased reports. As a result, complainant confidence in the police, which is hard won, can be undermined. The risk is that this may, in due course, reduce reporting, reversing the positive trends over the last few years.
The report makes a number of recommendations for the Mayor's Police and Crime Plan. It should:
- support women and girls to have the confidence to report VAWG
- ensure London’s VAWG strategy is adequately resourced and able to deliver on its priorities
- engage with the third sector – to understand the nature, needs and priorities of survivors in London
- protect and build on London’s network of specialist support services, and ensure the right resources in the right places
- support an increase in the number of ISVAs in London
- prioritise smart commissioning, including supporting consortiums of women’s organisations to come together
- address the shortage of safe and secure accommodation for victims of VAWG
- work with the Met to ensure adequate training for police officers on VAWG, and in particular, on harmful practices
- build on London’s response to harmful practices, including a focus on increasing understanding of harmful practices and provision of dedicated specialist support services