Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy 2018-21

Reference code: 
PCD 345
Date signed: 
08 March 2018
Authorisation name: 
Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, Policing and Crime

Executive summary

The Mayor made a commitment in his manifesto to tackle violence against women and girls and in the Police and Crime Plan (published March 2017) committed to refresh the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy. 

The Mayor wants to make London the safest city in the world for women and girls, and that means every Londoner and every organisation playing their part to promote equality and to challenge sexist and misogynistic attitudes wherever they are encountered.
London is already one of the safest cities in the world for women, yet on average 11 women and girls are raped or sexually assaulted in each of the capital’s 32 boroughs every single week, while domestic abuse accounts for a tenth of all crimes reported to the Metropolitan police.
The Mayor’s new wide-ranging strategy follows the biggest in-depth consultation with survivors as well as Londoners, police and partners. It includes measures to tackle rape, sexual assault, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), trafficking, controlling behaviour, forced marriages, stalking, harassment, and misogyny - building on the recent international #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns.
The new plan for a safer city for women and girls includes:
On prevention:
o   A wide-ranging programme to improve safety in public spaces at all times of day and night including a new Women’s Night Safety Charter, partnership to tackle unwanted sexual behaviour on the transport network and a new campaign to tackle attitudes of everyday sexism and misogyny
o   Working with partners across London to gain accreditation to the UN Women’s Safer Cities and Safe Public Spaces initiative
o   Work to encourage positive attitudes, behaviours and healthy relationships amongst children and young people with specialist advocates in schools and pupil referral units, Safer Schools Officers and a whole school prevention pilot in Croydon
o   Supporting a Good Work Standard to address the #MeToo phenomenon and ensure abuse is not tolerated in the workplace
Tackling perpetrators:
o   £4m for programmes to tackle stalking
o   Working with police and criminal justice partners to ensure the most effective handling of dangerous individuals including over £3m to expand the rehabilitative Drive project which provides additional support to help reform the behaviour of perpetrators
o   Calling on the Government to create a register for perpetrators of domestic abuse and violence, and for tougher sentences for image-based offenses such as ‘upskirting’ and ‘revenge porn’
Protection and support for victims
o   £200,000 to support London Councils Harmful Practices programme – training nurses, midwives and social workers to recognise abuses such as FGM and intervene
o   A complete review of adherence to the Victims’ Code of Practice, a new online portal for victims of crime, and a study into rape cases from a victim’s perspective
•    Significant investment in general and specialist services for victims including £13m for sexual violence services, £5m for Domestic Violence services, and over £9m for services in London’s boroughs.

The Deputy Mayor is asked to approve the launch and publication of the VAWG strategy.


The DMPC is requested:
i.    To have regard to and take into account the results from the pre-consultation survey
iii.    To have due regard to the Integrated Impact Assessment and its evaluation
v.    To approve and issue the VAWG Strategy 2017-2021. (Appendix 5) 

Non-confidential facts and advice to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC)

1.    Introduction and background

1.1    To tackle the extent and severity of harm caused to women and girls In London the Mayor committed to refreshing the Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy for London that will bring together police, partners, stakeholders and VCS organisation to preventing VAWG, tackle perpetrators and protect and support victims. This was a key commitment within the Police and Crime Plan (2017-21). 

1.2    The Police and Crime Plan included 43 commitments on tackling VAWG and MOPAC has been consulting with partners, stakeholders and the public since the Mayor was elected. 

1.3    Over the last 6 months MOPAC have been talking and consulting with partners, stakeholders and survivors - ahead of drafting this strategy to ensure it addresses the major concerns across the capital. The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime has led the consultation via individual meetings with key individuals, stakeholders and partners and the Victims Commissioner led the survivor consultation. 

1.4    The scale of Violence Against Women and Girls in London

    Over 249,000 people were victims of domestic abuse in London in 2016. Of these, approximately 74,500 were classified as notifiable offences (offences against an identified victim, the circumstances of which meet the classification of a crime, and of which the Home Office should be notified to include in their crime statistics) – this means that approximately one in every ten crimes recorded by the Met is domestic abuse related. 

    In the year to March 2017 there were over 17,700 sexual offences recorded across London (an increase of 9% on the preceding year), with over 6,000 of these being classified as rapes. However, it is widely recognised that these deeply personal, invasive offences are under-reported. Part of the challenge we face is supporting more victims of sexual offences to gain the confidence to come forward and report, so that the perpetrator can be brought to justice and so the victim can receive the specialist help they need to cope with and recover from their experiences.  

    In the year to March 2017, London accounted for more than 10% of the 5,200 cases of stalking recorded in England and Wales. Nationally, recorded stalking offences have increased by over 27% compared to the preceding year.  However, this is another area of VAWG that is considered largely hidden; with underreporting and low levels of charging believed to affect our understanding of the prevalence of this form of harassment and also how this intersects with other VAWG offences, such as domestic abuse and sexual violence. 

    In the year to March 2017, there were over 360 victims of so called ‘revenge porn’ in London. These primarily were young women - with almost a third specifically between the ages of 19 and 24. 

    The first annual report of the FGM Enhanced Dataset, April 2015 to March 2016, was published in July 2016 and showed that 52 per cent of the 5,702 nationally recorded instances of FGM were recorded in London.

    Our survivor consultation has told us that while 69% of victims reported to the police, 59% also reported their experience to a third-party agency such as a VAWG charity.

1.5    Having already had feedback from the wider public via Talk London and through the PCP Consultation, the VAWG engagement concentrated on convening delivery partners, stakeholders and also survivors. Our aim was to firstly convene partners and stakeholders to ensure that we are clear how the commitments within the PCP are delivered, and secondly to consult a wider group of people about specific areas of focus that needed more thought and consultation, and to ensure that delivery partners agreed their part in tackling VAWG. Consultation mechanisms included:

    Workshops – We held twelve workshops on the following areas Evidence and data sharing; Female Offenders; BAME; Perpetrators; Prevention; Enforcement; Support to Victims; Prostitution; Harmful Practices; Priority Boroughs; Survivors roundtable and a partner roundtable with stakeholders.

    Survivor Consultation - We worked with the MOPAC Voluntary and Community Sector reference group and IMKAAN (a second tier VCS agency supporting BME women who have experienced VAWG) specifically to lead on survivor consultation. This was led by the Victims Commissioner for London; the work involved 15 focus groups and 19 one-to-one interviews held with 133 survivors of VAWG providing detailed feedback from survivors regarding their experience of services in relation to violence and abuse. In addition, we undertook an online survey giving views of survivors of the services they encountered throughout their journey. 
Results and themes from the consultation have been incorporated into the final strategy document and the full consultation report will be included as an appendix to the strategy.  Survivors made recommendations around the following areas: SERVICES; INFORMATION; CRIMINAL JUSTICE, CIVIL COURT AND STATUTORY PARTNERS PROCESSES; PERPETRATORS; CULTURAL CHANGE 

    Interviews with the public - Face to face interviews with 400 individuals have taken place: 300 interviews with females and 100 interviews with males from the following boroughs: Brent, Islington, Lambeth, Newham, Southwark. 

    Participants in the consultation included: Advance Charity, Afruca Ashiana Network, Beyond the Streets, Clean Break, Commonweal Housing, Crown Prosecution Service, Domestic Violence Intervention Project, Drink Aware, End Violence Against Women Coalition, Forward UK, Galop, Haven Network, Hibiscus Initiatives, HM Courts and Tribunals Service, Home Office, Housing for Women, Imkaan, Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation, Jewish Women's Aid, LB Barking & Dagenham, LB Bexley, LB Brent, LB Croydon, LB Hackney, LB Harrow, LB Havering, LB Islington, LB Kensington & Chelsea, LB Lambeth, LB Lewisham, LB Newham, LB Redbridge, LB Southwark, LB Waltham Forest, LB Westminster, London Community Rehabilitation Company, London Councils, London Probation, Metropolitan Police Service, Migdal Emunah,  Ministry of Justice, National Health Service, Nia, Paladin Service, Pecan, Prison Reform Trust, Respect, Respond, Safe Lives, Safer London, Solace Womens Aid, Southall Black Sisters, St George's University of London, Standing Together, Stay Safe East, Suzy Lampugh Trust, The Survivor Trust, Transport for London, Victim Support, White Ribbon Campaign, Women and Girls Network, Women at the Well, Women in Prison, Working Chance

1.6    The strategy covers all forms of VAWG (Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE); Coercive control; Domestic abuse; Harmful Practices;  Image-based sexual offending; Misogyny; Prostitution; Sexual harassment; Sexual violence and rape; Stalking; and Trafficking). 

1.7    Success will be measured by the below performance framework. 

2    Issues for consideration

2.1    There are a number of policy considerations following from the data analysis and consultation which have informed the strategy.
2.2    Sexual harassment and street-based harassment have been key emerging themes from the VAWG strategy consultation, and many women and girls told us that they experience low-level harassment in London on a daily basis, to the point where they felt it was a normalised part of living in a city. MOPAC will work with the GLA and the MPS towards becoming part of the UN Women’s initiative ‘Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces’

2.3    Grass roots movements around the #metoo campaign has left a changing picture around survivor expectations and police resources relating to sexual harassment and this is an area that requires ongoing consideration

2.4    The VAWG strategy will address inequality by supporting all victims and addressing the specific challenges for those women and girls with protected characteristics accessing and receiving support.

2.5    The strategy is specifically focussed on Violence Against Women and Girls, and not men and boys. That is not say that men and boys do not experience these types of abuse and violence, and we recognise their specific needs both in the Police and Crime Plan and in the services we commission. However, it is clear that women and girls are disproportionately affected by these offences.  

3    Financial Comments

3.1    Implementation of the strategy and requests for procurement decisions will be made in line with agreed budgets and the requirements of the MOPAC Scheme of Consent and Delegation. 

4    Legal Comments

4.1    Decision form PCD 168: Issuing the Police and Crime Plan 2017 – 2021 approved the Police and Crime Plan including all of its commitments which included the refresh of Violence Against Women and Girls strategy. The legal comments in the aforementioned decision apply to this decision.

4.2    Under MOPAC’s Scheme of Consent and Delegation (the “Scheme”) the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime has delegated authority for the approval of significant strategies and policies. Paragraph 4.3 of the Scheme requires DMPC approval of:-
•    The Police and Crime Plan for submission to the Mayor.
•    Other significant policies and strategies. 
•    MOPAC’s annual report. 

5    Equality Comments

5.1    MOPAC is required to comply with the public sector equality duty set out in section 149(1) of the Equality Act 2010.  This requires MOPAC to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations by reference to people with protected characteristics.  The protected characteristics are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. The equality comments in the aforementioned decision PCD 168: Issuing the Police and Crime Plan 2017 – 2021 apply to this decision.

5.2    All providers who deliver or services under the auspices of the VAWG strategy will or already have been asked to provide details of their Equalities processes as part of their tender.

5.3    An Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) for the VAWG strategy is also published alongside the strategy.

6    Background/supporting papers

APPENDIX A - Key strategy commitments


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