Published on

29 September 2023

No tolerance for violence against women and girls

A strategy has been agreed to protect women and girls in Wokingham Borough from violence and abuse

Headshots of 36 women smiling at the camera of varying ages and ethnicities

Tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG) will come into sharper focus after a new strategy was agreed by Wokingham Borough Council’s executive group last night (28 September).

As well as defining VAWG and its impact, the strategy will also set out local priorities to address these concerns, behaviours and crimes and will underpin a detailed action plan which is being developed in conjunction with partner organisations and informed by victims and survivors and from the real life experiences of women and girls that are fearful for their own safety.

Violence against women and girls takes place in communities across the UK and can be committed by anyone, from close friends and family to strangers, and anywhere, including homes, workplaces and in public places.

Although men and boys are also victims of violence and abuse, women and girls are often disproportionately affected because of their gender, particularly in cases such as sexual harassment and bullying, stalking, revenge porn, up skirting and domestic abuse.

The new strategy will sit within the Wokingham Community Safety Partnership, a group of organisations representing the council, health, police and fire and rescue that sets priorities and agrees the borough’s response to crime and anti-social behaviour.

The partnership particularly focus on reducing incidences of domestic abuse and serious violence, tackling exploitation, and burglary and theft and providing support to victims of these crimes.

The VAWG strategy will cover a range of actions including changing societal attitudes and behaviours of misogyny and sexism, holding perpetrators to account, ensuring victims get the support they need and raising awareness and empowerment in local communities.

Councillor Sarah Kerr, executive member for climate emergency and resident services, said: “Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a serious issue and one that we are committed to playing our part in tackling.

“In the UK, one in four women experiences domestic abuse in their lifetime. In England and Wales two women a week are killed by a current or former partner, one in four women have been raped, and two-thirds of girls report sexual harassment from other students at school.

“Although reported crime levels in the borough are relatively low, violence against women and girls does happen here, is often hidden and under reported, but it is not inevitable. The strategy sets out our priorities and approach, but it is through working with individuals, communities and partner organisations that we will be able to make a change so that women and girls are free to live the lives they would choose for themselves.”

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