The Mayor of London will unveil a new £18-million-funding package on Wednesday aimed at combatting the “scourge” of violence against women and girls in the city.
During a visit to Waltham Forest in north-east London, Sadiq Khan will announce the Violence Against Women & Girls (VAWG) Strategy which uses public health and education to implement the initiative.
According to a statement issued ahead of the official announcement, Mr Khan said the campaign will take a “holistic approach” to improving safety for women and girls across the city while improving services for victims and survivors.
The nearly £18m from City Hall will aim to improve accountability for perpetrators of gender-based abuse and provide better education of men and boys about sexism.
Mr Khan said: “The epidemic of violence is a crisis which should shame us all which is why I’m uniting with partners across London to not only provide support to women and girls but to help educate and inform all Londoners, especially men, about the danger posed by misogynistic attitudes and behaviours.
“As well as record investment in services for victims and survivors, I am also funding initiatives which address the behaviour of those at risk of offending or reoffending to help prevent them turning to violence.
“Change will not happen overnight but I believe that together we can help to stop the men who wish to do women harm and drive forward a lasting change in our society’s culture so that women and girls can finally live their lives free from fear, harassment or abuse.”
He added there must be improvements across all criminal justice services to improve trust and confidence in the policing and prosecution of VAWG.
His strategy will involve working with the Met to improve “the systems, training of officers – particularly around domestic abuse and rape misconceptions – as well as renewed action to improve the overall culture of policing VAWG to support victims to come forward and ensure they are treated with care (and) respect throughout the criminal justice process”.
Andrea Simon, the director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, welcomed the strategy she said will hopefully “put prevention at the heart of all work to end male violence against women”.
She added: “Violence against women is not inevitable… Preventing women and girls from becoming victims in the first place will always be the best way to address this abuse, which is why we welcome long term attention to work with young people in schools and to shifting public attitudes and behaviour.
“We also welcome the strategy’s commitment to ensuring all victims’ rights and needs are met, including migrant women, where more needs to be done to ensure safe reporting pathways for victims and survivors to report abuse without fear of being detained or removed from the UK.
“Demand for specialist women’s services in London has massively increased as a result of the Covid pandemic and will be significantly impacted by the cost of living crisis. It is therefore vital that this strategy provides sustainable funding for the lifesaving specialist services women rely on, including those run by and for Black and minoritised women, Deaf and disabled and other marginalised survivors of violence and abuse.”
Grace Williams, leader of Waltham Forest Council, said: “A woman is killed at the hands of a man on average every three days in the UK, not to mention the countless others subjected to abuse every day.
“Every single Londoner has a role to play in ending violence against women and girls, from understanding the services that support survivors to tackling misogyny in all its forms.”
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