Bedfordshire Police and our partners are working together to tackle perpetrators of violence or abuse against women and girls. Crimes which disproportionally affect females include rape and sexual offences, stalking and domestic abuse.
But we know that there are other behaviours which affect women and girls, too - cat-calling, inappropriate contact, misogyny, explicit messaging and groping, to name a few.
These behaviours may not all meet a criminal threshold, but they could be precursors for further offending. Either way, they make women and girls in Bedfordshire feel unsafe.
Why ‘male violence against women and girls’?
Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is defined by the Home Office as acts of violence or abuse that we know disproportionately affect women and girls. The vast majority of these offences are committed by male perpetrators.
Crimes and behaviour covered by this term include rape and other sexual offences, domestic abuse, stalking, ‘honour’-based abuse, as well as many others, including offences committed online.
We remain committed to tackling all forms of abuse, supporting victims of any gender. We seek to bring to justice female offenders of any crimes and take these reports just as seriously.
Respect and consent
Many of the behaviours and attitudes which make women and girls feel unsafe fall below the criminal threshold, yet patterns of behaviour need to change in order to make society a safer and more respectful place for all.
We are starting within our own force, by making clear that inappropriate conduct is not tolerated, and providing a safe space for colleagues who have witnessed or experienced sexual misconduct to come forward and report.
Remember, any form of sexual contact requires mutual consent, and it can only be given if the person is free and has capacity to give their consent.
Bedfordshire Police is giving survivors of rape and domestic abuse a platform to speak out and to have their voices heard, in a bid to raise awareness and encourage others to come forward.
The force is keen to support other survivors who feel comfortable and confident enough to come forward and tell their story.