Women’s Aid respond to the government’s introduction of new online tool ‘StreetSafe’

The government’s introduction of a new online tool – ‘StreetSafe’ – represents a welcome effort to improve protection and support for women and girls in light of the ongoing threat of male violence that they face on a day to day basis. Women’s Aid is clear that action and resources to tackle the root causes of male violence is urgently needed.

While this move towards a ‘whole system’ approach to tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG) is positive, including through informing local police strategies, we continue to call for further clarity on how this tool will be integrated into broader efforts to tackle abuse in domestic settings, as we know that abuse and harassment in the streets is only one part of the picture. This tool needs to be complemented by efforts to tackle abuse at home, as we know that on average, police in England and Wales receive over a hundred calls relating to domestic abuse every hour¹.

Violence against women and girls is a crisis of global proportions, driven by sexism and women’s inequality in society. We require urgent action to tackle the attitudes and behaviours that drive male violence. We are encouraged by the government’s commitment to an integrated response, but to achieve this, we need all parts of government to be held accountable for ending all forms of VAWG – from schools to health services, the police to transport, business, housing and many more.

It also remains unclear whether an equalities impact assessment has been undertaken. It is crucial that this new online tool does not result in the over-policing and disproportionate surveillance of Black and minoritised communities – and contribute to further stigmatisation of certain areas in the UK.

We encourage the government and Police and Crime Commissioners to work with Women’s Aid and the VAWG sector to ensure that this pilot is evaluated comprehensively before being rolled out after this initial three-month period, and that it serves to increase the confidence of survivors in reporting to police, particularly Black and minoritised survivors who face additional barriers.

 

¹ Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC). (2015) Increasingly everyone’s business: A progress report on the police response to domestic abuse. Published online: HMIC, p. 28

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