PSNI launches first action plan to combat violence against women and girls
The PSNI has launched its first action plan to tackle violence against women and girls in what the police chief has hailed as “a watershed moment” for policing in Northern Ireland. North.
Women and girls in Northern Ireland are disproportionately affected by violence, abuse and intimidation.
During the lockdown, a dozen women here were murdered in domestic incidents.
Between 2017 and 2021, 34 women and girls across Northern Ireland have been killed by men.
From April 2021 to March 2022, in Northern Ireland, they accounted for 78% of all victims of sex crimes, 68% of domestic violence, 64% of stalking and, in April 2022, 95% of stalking crimes.
Chief Constable Simon Byrne said the service “sends a strong message that it will not be tolerated” and that if you target women and girls “you will be pursued relentlessly”.
He added: “It is important to recognize that this targeted behavior crosses social and economic boundaries.
“To effectively tackle complex societal issues like this, we need everyone to actively advocate for the change needed.
“The actions we will take over the next two years are clear, and there will be more priorities and actions taken after that, but the police cannot end violence against women and girls on their own. only.
“For this to really work, to really make a difference for all women and girls, we need to work in partnership with all parts of society.
“This is a watershed moment. Never before have there been so many shared goals and ambition to radically reduce violence against women and girls and we must maintain the momentum.
Today’s document sets out, for the first time in Northern Ireland, a clear framework for how the police will play their part in tackling the problem.
The PSNI said its plan is aligned with the UK‘s national strategy under three key pillars:
- Building trust in policing to address violence against women and girls
- Relentlessly prosecute the perpetrators of violence and support the victims
- Creating safer spaces for women and girls
The PSNI said its action plan focuses on prevention, early intervention, working in partnership and increased support for victims and has been influenced locally in collaboration with many key partners, for example, experts in the broader criminal justice system and victim support and advocacy. groups.
Mr Byrne said: ‘We cannot ignore the lived experiences of so many female victims. Harassment, intimidation, violence and abuse constitute a violation of human dignity.
“We will work to better recognize, understand, address and reduce the fear experienced by women and girls.
“We can and we will pursue those who seek to harm them, using all the powers at our disposal.
“Through our action plan, we will also focus on improving our own culture and continuously training our officers and staff to understand the impact of unacceptable attitudes and behaviors, taking effective and appropriate action against those who might take advantage of their position of trust in society. .”
The National Police’s Violence Against Women and Girls Coordinator, Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth, said: “Violence against women and girls is a shameful stain on society. Too often women and girls do not feel safe at work, at home, on the streets or online and abusers are the cause.
“I welcome the action plan of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, which demonstrates its commitment to relentlessly prosecuting perpetrators, ensuring women and girls have safe avenues to report and seek help, and eradicate toxic misogyny within our own ranks and in society.
“Police are increasingly using their unique powers to bring perpetrators to justice, monitor offenders and disrupt their despicable activities. Each drafted action plan is another critical step towards achieving our mission to turn the tide so violent men feel threatened, not women and girls.
“I am confident that the PSNI’s approach to developing this plan, including working in partnership, focusing on prevention and engaging with the right people, will give the service every chance of achieving its goals and , above all, to protect women and girls.”
The CEO of the Women’s Aid Federation of Northern Ireland, Sarah Mason, said the launch of the action plan marks a “historic day for all women and girls in Northern Ireland, finally aligning the ‘Northern Ireland over the rest of the UK’.
She added: ‘Police taking this first step are welcomed by Women’s Aid, but we are clear that we need a whole Northern Ireland approach to tackling VAWG in all its forms. and look forward to the local government taking the next step.
“Women’s Aid would like to highlight the police service’s partnership approach in developing this action plan.
An independent advisory group will be set up to oversee the results of the action plan and a public review of this work is expected.
The Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Action Plan sets out how police services will address this area over the next two years.
It incorporates recommendations from the UK Government, the National Police Chiefs Council and the Inspectorate of Police and Her Majesty’s Fire and Rescue Services. It will also be led locally by District Police Chiefs and Neighborhood Police Teams.