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Keep People Safe and Reduce Harm

Shared outcome:

Women and girls are protected from violence, vulnerable people are safeguarded and there is a sustained reduction in the numbers of people killed and seriously injured on our roads.

Focus areas:

Violence against women and girls

Every year more than three million women in the UK experience rape and other forms of sexual violence, are the victims of domestic abuse, coercion, stalking, trafficking and sexual exploitation or are subject to so-called ‘honour’ crimes such as female genital mutilation. That’s why I believe we need to see changes, both in the manner in which the state deals with these types of crime, and the efforts we put in to prevent them happening.

I want to ensure that the work already underway to tackle violence against women and girls accelerates further and delivers better outcomes for victims. I will support the formulation of a new county wide strategy to co-ordinate activity across all relevant agencies. Together we must make it clear that such violence is unacceptable and that agencies will do everything possible to support victims and bring perpetrators to justice. It will be important for policing, in particular, to demonstrate significant progress in this area and I will hold the force to account to do so.

We must also ensure that misogyny has no place within the police, criminal justice agencies or wider society as a whole. Confidence in policing and the way it tackles issues of misogyny in its own workforce needs to be restored, through the enforcement of the highest standards of officer and staff conduct. Victims also need to be reassured that criminal justice processes are supportive and effective and that those responsible for misogyny will be made to properly account for their actions.

Through all of this activity, a net aim must be to bring more offenders to justice and I will use my influence with partners at a local and national level to ensure that the appropriate resources are put in place to drive forward this agenda. This must be allied to ensuring the rights set out in the Victims’ Code are also consistently delivered. Priority 5 has more detail on this

The new Domestic Abuse Act gives additional powers to the police and I will ensure there are used effectively to bring meaningful consequences for perpetrators. I will hold Warwickshire Police to account in making effective use of domestic abuse protection notices, domestic abuse protection orders and restraining orders to ensure that victims are properly safeguarded.

To prevent re-victimisation I will also seek to fund high-quality programmes that educate and divert perpetrators from their violent and abusive behaviour, while I will continue to fund and co-commission high-quality support services for victims of domestic abuse. This ensures a holistic approach to domestic abuse that has victims and survivors at the centre.

Stalking and harassment offences are no less distressing and frightening for victims. Whether occurring in person or online, incidents must be taken seriously by the police, with measures put in place to protect the victim and ensure they do not come to harm. I will work with Warwickshire Police to ensure that officers have thorough training and are able to identify and take action against perpetrators at the earliest opportunity.

With women and girls at substantially greater risk, it is appropriate to take a gendered-focused approach to tackling these crimes, while also ensuring that there is also appropriate support for male victims, along with other groups and individuals.

With all hidden crimes it is also important to encourage more victims to come forward and report, in the knowledge that they will be taken seriously. For this reason, in these crime categories, a measure of success will actually be for crime reports to increase, though this must be aligned to all victims being offered high quality support to help them cope and recover, balanced by the assurance that repeat victimisation is reducing.

Vulnerability

Vulnerability plays a key role in both making people more susceptible to becoming a victim and impacting on their likelihood of being the perpetrator of crime and anti-social behaviour. People with mental health issues account for a significant proportion of those who come into contact with the police. However, the police service should not end up being the service of first resort for what are essentially health-related issues, with people in crisis needing the right help from an appropriate health service. I will work to improve the multi-agency approach to ensure that the right response is provided to those with mental health needs in the criminal justice system and the wider community, to reduce the burden on policing.

The link between homelessness and vulnerability through drug and alcohol use is also well known, as is the impact it has on driving people towards crime and increasing reoffending rates. I will work with partners to help identify the local drivers to homelessness and the links to offending, supporting the efforts to tackle these through the county’s Homelessness Strategy. Likewise, there needs to greater focus and understanding of the role problem gambling plays in driving people to criminality, with better support for those who need it.

Despite much progress in society, incidents where people are targeted with hatred because of who they are still remain too frequent. Recent national and international events have only served to underline the need to continue to address the issues that underpin hate crime. As part of the Warwickshire Hate Crime Partnership, I will work to make it clear that hatred will not be tolerated in Warwickshire, improve awareness of how to report incidents and ensure specialist help and support is available for victims.

Vulnerable adults who come into contact with the police need to be able to understand their rights to effectively engage with police enquiries or the court process and for fair outcomes to be achieved. To strengthen existing arrangements, I will establish a new Appropriate Adults scheme using trained volunteers to assist those over 18 who may need support.

Road safety

On average, each day sees a serious collision occurring and more than 30 lives lost each year in Warwickshire through road traffic collisions. Making our highways safer for all road users must therefore be a focus for the work of the police and other road safety professionals. As chair of the re-invigorated Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership, I want push for innovative solutions to put
the county at the forefront of road safety nationally. This will involve a combination of education, engineering and enforcement to develop a safe systems approach, which encourages responsible road use.

Through my Road Safety Fund I will support a range of initiatives targeted at the most vulnerable road users while also pursuing behavioural change among those who are reckless risk takers. I will also support communities to play a full and active part in making our roads safer, including schemes such as Community Speed Watch. I will use my position as a board member of the Road Safety Trust to engage nationally and further support the work locally on road safety. Overall, our collective target must be to work towards a safer highways network for all road users, with sustained reductions in the numbers of people killed or seriously injured.

 

What success will look like:

  • Victims are confident to report harmful offences which have traditionally been under-reported, including  rape, child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, hate crime, modern slavery, stalking and harassment and other high-harm offences.
  • There is increased confidence in the policing response to violence against women and girls.
  • There is demonstrable progress in tackling misogyny within policing, criminal justice systems and the wider community.
  • More offenders who commit crimes of violence against women and girls are brought to justice.
  • There are improved outcomes for victims of domestic abuse, rape and serious sexual assault.
  • There are fewer people who become repeat victims of domestic abuse.
  • Vulnerable children are safeguarded from violence, physical and sexual abuse, neglect and exploitation.
  • People in a mental health crisis are dealt with by the most appropriate agency at the point of first contact and are supported when in the criminal justice system.
  • Fewer people are pushed into the criminal justice system through homelessness.
  • There is greater awareness of the link between gambling and criminality, with better support for those with gambling problems.
  • Increased awareness of and reporting of hate crime, modern slavery and exploitation, with improved satisfaction from victims in the way with which incidents are dealt with.
  • Our roads are safer, with fewer people killed and seriously injured.
  • Warwickshire is seen nationally as a leader in innovative road safety solutions and interventions.
  • Vulnerable children are safeguarded from violence, physical and sexual abuse, neglect and exploitation.
  • People in a mental health crisis are dealt with by the most appropriate agency at the point of first contact and are supported when in the criminal justice system.
  • Fewer people are pushed into the criminal justice system through homelessness.
  • There is greater awareness of the link between gambling and criminality, with better support for those with gambling problems.
  • Increased awareness of and reporting of hate crime, modern slavery and exploitation, with improved satisfaction from victims in the way with which incidents are dealt with.
  • Our roads are safer, with fewer people killed and seriously injured.
  • Warwickshire is seen nationally as a leader in innovative road safety solutions and interventions

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