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Home Office launches refresh of cross-government Ending Violence Against Women & Girls Strategy

6 Mar 2019

Ahead of International Women’s Day on Friday 8th March 2019, the Home Office has published its refreshed violence against women and girls (VAWG) strategy.

The refreshed action plan, which was first launched in 2016, sets out new measures to help protect women and girls.

This includes a cross-sector, end-to-end review into how rape and sexual violence cases are handled across the criminal justice system.

Other policies among the 54 commitments being made are pledges to:

  • commission research into the connection between pornography and violence against women
  • develop further measures to support LBGT victims
  • explore issues of ‘online flashing’ and consider options for next steps
  • consider the impact of alcohol on violence against women and girls

Katie Russell, spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales said:

“Through today’s publication of its refreshed Ending Violence Against Women & Girls Strategy, the Government signals a consistent and continued commitment to tackling sexual violence and abuse.  

The strategy sets out several key intentions, a call for evidence on anonymity and a position statement on male victims, ‘not to draw out comparisons or create division’ but to clarify and strengthen the Government’s response to the needs of all victims and survivors. 

There are key points relating to a review of the criminal justice system that Rape Crisis has called for for some time.  

Victims and survivors consistently tell us during the course of our frontline work that the criminal justice system currently fails them at every stage of the process, and a complete overhaul is long overdue.

While reports of sexual offences to the police continue to rise, it is concerning that charging, prosecution and conviction rates are all falling.  

The review needs to be of sufficient breadth and depth to ensure significant improvements in social and criminal justice outcomes for sexual violence and abuse victims and survivors.”

The criminal justice review will look at the system from police report to conviction or acquittal in court and make recommendations for change to ensure that victims have the confidence that if they report their crimes, action will be taken.

The Ministry of Justice will be establishing a sub-group of the Criminal Justice Board which will oversee the review and inform the discussions of the Inter-Ministerial Group on Violence Against Women and Girls, as well as a stakeholder advisory group to closely involve victims’ groups will be created.