Women and girls in Wirral who have experienced violence are being urged to share their experiences and views as preparations on a new national strategy to tackle Violence Against Women and Girls gets underway.
As well as urging organisations who directly support victims and survivors – such as frontline professionals and academics – to respond, for the first time the government is also asking victims, survivors, and their families and friends for their views and experiences.
The consultation closes on 19 February 2021. People can take part online at https://surveys.ipsosinteractive.com/mriweb/mriweb.dll, by email to VAWGStrategy2021@homeoffice.gov.uk or writing to Interpersonal Abuse Unit, Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Team, 5th Floor, Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street London SW1P 4DF.
Former Wallasey Police Officer, Councillor Lesley Rennie worked to support victims of violence, rape and sexual abuse and is urging survivors and victims to give their views: “Over the last 10 years, we have responded to newer forms of crimes against women, such as cyber flashing and revenge porn.
“Action includes making ‘upskirting’ a specific criminal offence and commissioning a review of the laws around non-consensual sharing of intimate images, however, the pace of change means it is even more critical that we adapt the response to these crimes. But there will be women and girls in Wallasey and across Wirral who have never felt able to give their views and experiences. I’m pleased that this new consultation will give them the opportunity.”
Given sensitivities, this survey will be carried out in partnership with trusted independent organisations so that victims and survivors are fully supported when speaking about their experiences. This will be anonymous, enabling respondents to provide as much information as they are comfortable with.
Jo Wood MBE, Finance & Strategic Development Manager at Wirral’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (RASA) said: “How many times do we hear the words ‘they should’. Well here’s your chance to make a difference. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by sexual and domestic violence from the day they are born. Unaddressed, such abuse can take a lifetime to heal – and in many cases, no healing will be possible, but the woman or girl will need instead to learn how to learn to live with what has happened to her.
“Such violence is no respecter of colour, class, creed, belief system or age. It can affect any one of us at any time and many of us will carry the scars for life.
“For your mother, your sister, your daughter, niece, friend and colleague – let the government hear your views. You matter and your opinion matters.”
Statistics show that there were estimated 2.3 million victims of domestic abuse in the last year and it costs society an estimated £71 billion. Domestic homicides count for around 1 in 5 of all homicides and the government is aiming to reduce homicide overall.