Women’s Aid welcomes the VAWG Policing Framework for Delivery
15th December 2021
Women’s Aid welcomes the new delivery framework, which aims to coordinate and standardise the policing of violence against women and girls (VAWG). We particularly welcome Maggie Blyth’s, National Police Lead for VAWG’s, engagement with Women’s Aid and the wider VAWG sector on this essential document.
The inclusion of the explicit requirement for forces to “engage safely with – and seek the views of – Black and minoritised individuals and communities”, among whom trust in policing is particularly low, is desperately needed and we hope that their expertise is listened to.
However, we strongly urge caution around ‘profiling’ spaces and communities, without adequate equalities assessment. VAWG can be committed by any man, anywhere. It is not specific to individual cultures or communities. The ‘over policing’ of specific areas could make women even less likely to trust the police, likely lowering the number of reports and the conviction rates, and continue to disproportionately impact Black and minoritised communities.
The new partnerships with police to include education and prevention work with children and young people is a welcome addition. At Women’s Aid, we know this is a vital step in ending domestic abuse and wider VAWG. Our Expect Respect programme works to educate children and young people about intimate partner violence and deliver training national to create a network of expect Respect Advocates. This collective understanding of healthy relationships, starting from the age of 4, is essential to ending domestic abuse.
As all forces will be required to provide an action plan in March 2022, setting out their local plans in response to the national actions in this framework, we urge local forces to consult with their local specialist domestic abuse services, especially ‘by and for’ services. This is vital to deepen their understanding of domestic abuse as a form of VAWG, and to develop closer links and signposting between the police and specialist services. We also encourage them to undertake Domestic Abuse Matters training, as only two thirds of police forces have currently undergone this training. Women’s Aid is ready to support police as this important work is taken forward, both nationally and at local level through our federation of member organisations.