Domestic abusers in Bedfordshire are set to face tougher measures as part of national changes to crackdown on perpetrators of violence against women and girls.
An eight-point strategy, launched by the Home Office and National Police Chiefs’ Council today (Monday) will see violence against women and girls treated as a national threat.
The Home Office announced the law will be changed so that the most dangerous domestic abusers will be watched more closely, and controlling or coercive behaviour will be treated in a similar way as physical violence.
Bedfordshire Police’s dedicated domestic abuse team Emerald proactively works to identify and pursue perpetrators with a sharp focus on male violence against women and girls (MVAWG). In January alone the force secured 74 positive outcomes for domestic abuse victims.
This week frontline officers across Bedfordshire will start using WEPROTECT, an instant victim referral app for legal advice in a bid to improve support and safeguarding of victims. The project is a partnership between the force and the Domestic Abuse Alliance which offers specialist legal support.
Other dedicated MVAWG work includes Project Firefly, a dedicated operation run jointly with the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Safer Streets project to ensure women no longer face unacceptable behaviour in places like pubs and clubs.
The project includes specialist training for officers as well as licensed premises, an increased police presence and an education piece aimed at perpetrator behaviour. More than 20 licensed premises in the county have received training so far, with positive feedback from all the venues.
Internally, there is a significant focus on vetting and professional standards, along with the force’s Blue Bell support group for victims and witnesses of sexual misconduct, which encourages police officers and staff to speak out.
Detective Chief Superintendent Dee Perkins, the force’s lead for MVAWG, said: “Domestic abuse remains an absolute priority for the force, and sadly, these types of offences disproportionately affect women and girls.
“Today we welcome tougher measures on dangerous perpetrators in order for us to further create a safer environment for women and girls, because no one should ever feel scared in their own home.
“Harder measures towards those responsible should have a positive impact on preventing these crimes from happening in the first place, and should provide further confidence for those who need to come forward and report.
“As a society we need to challenge harmful behaviour and encourage more people to be an upstander in our efforts to make keep women and girls safe across the county.”
Crimes and behaviour covered by the ‘MVAWG’ term include rape and other sexual offences, domestic abuse, stalking, ‘honour’-based abuse (including female genital mutilation forced marriage, and ‘honour’ killings), as well as many others, including offences committed online. The MVAWG agenda also seeks to tackle harassment, misogyny and sexual misconduct.
Bedfordshire Police remain committed to tackling all forms of abuse, supporting victims of any gender, and seek to bring to justice female offenders of any crimes and take these reports just as seriously.
Anyone wishing to report any instance of male violence against women and girls can get in touch with the police on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.
Alternatively, you can call independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.