Sussex Police has welcomed the new national police framework on Violence Against Women and Girls published today, 15 December, which aims to deliver a fundamental shift in priorities and give victims a consistently high standard of service.

The new framework launched in England and Wales by the College Of Policing and the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) sets out action required from every police force designed to make all women and girls safer.

The force is already working on plans for improved action on violence against women and girls, and Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Rayland, Head of the force’s Public Protection Command said; “We already have comprehensive plans in place to tackle violence against women and girls in Sussex and we enjoy really strong partnerships with local authorities, victim services, and charities, working together to seek to address the root causes of gender inequality. This work was recently recognised through our ‘White Ribbon’ accreditation.

“But it is clear that in the police service we must do more, and must consider doing some things differently.

“The national Framework published today provides a further impetus and focus for our work in this vital area, and we will ensure that the action required forms an integral part of our response.”

The Sussex Police commitment to stopping violence against women and girls is already reflected in a range of initiatives some of which have been recognised as national best practice, including:

– A multi-agency stalking perpetrator project to manage the highest risk stalking perpetrators using dedicated police offender managers:

– Successfully embedding the use of Stalking Protection Orders – the force has led nationally:

– A multi-agency domestic abuse perpetrator project, focusing on the highest harm, most actively dangerous perpetrators, to reduce harm and repeat victimisation and offending:

– Specialist officers who respond to support victims of serious sexual assault, working alongside investigators:

– A dedicated team of domestic abuse investigators who can respond to victims via video calls, providing a quick, efficient and discreet response:

– Extensive analysis to inform police patrol activities including revised night time economy policing engagement activities to identify and tackle inappropriate behaviours:

– Specially dedicated patrol units responding to emergency calls reporting domestic abuse.

Sussex Police has also launched a unique online survey which runs until 7 January, seeking the views of people across the county on the experience of women and girls as victims of harassment, sexual and violent crime.

The results of this survey, together with feedback from focus groups being conducted around the county, will be used to further improve what we do to making Sussex safer.

In a further step, at the recently launched StreetSafe website you can tell us anonymously about locations in your neighbourhood that make you feel or have made you feel unsafeBut if you or someone else is in immediate danger always dial 999. Since we began to publicise StreetSafe in Sussex in October we have already received more than 550 reports. All the reports are analysed at local level and action is taken to change patrol patterns, and to consult with local partners on issues such as street lighting and layout.

The force is also supporting the ‘Do The Right Thing’ initiative launched this month by Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, which encourages men to recognise sexual harassment and misogynistic behaviour, and give them the confidence and skills to safely call it out when they witness it.

Steve Rayland said; “This fresh call to men to recognise unacceptable attitudes and behaviour in themselves and those around them is very welcome and has the potential to help keep women safer.

“The police service is committed to taking action to prevent and detect such crimes and keep everyone safe, but it is clear that violence against women and girls is a societal problem that cannot be addressed by police alone. This issue is bigger than policing. It is part of a wider debate about what we must all do to challenge sexism and misogyny that exists in society in all its forms.” 

Advice to victims:
– At home shouldn’t mean at risk of domestic abuse – #youarenotalone 
If you are controlled or physically, sexually, economically or emotionally abused by a partner, ex-partner or family member, this is Domestic Abuse. Contact us at sussex.police.uk or find support at safespacesussex.org.uk

– Going for a night out shouldn’t mean at risk of sexual assault – #nomeansno
If you experience or witness a sexual assault, contact us on 999. You can find support at safespacesussex.org.uk

– Walking in the street shouldn’t mean intimidation – #youarenotalone
If you feel unsafe, contact Sussex Police on 999. You can also report non-emergencies online. You can find support at safespacesussex.org.uk