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Call to end violence against women and girls

The coalition government has launched a paper outlining how they plan to tackle violence against women and girls.

'No level of violence against women and girls is acceptable in modern Britain or anywhere else in the world.' Theresa May, Home Secretary.

In the last year alone, there were over 1 million female victims of domestic abuse in England and Wales. Over 300,000 women are sexually assaulted and 60,000 women are raped each year. Overall in the UK, more than one in four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, often with years of psychological abuse. This is unacceptable.

Our vision 

'As women and as a society we have made great strides but we need to do more to ensure that women and future generations are not held back. My ambition is nothing less than ending violence against women and girls and our strategy document will outline our commitments to seeing this become a reality.' Theresa May, Home Secretary.

Our vision is for a society in which no woman or girl has to live in fear of violence.

On 25 November, to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the coalition-government launched a paper outlining their ambition and guiding principles to tackle violence against women and girls.

The principles of this vision are to:

  1. prevent violence from happening by challenging the attitudes and behaviours which foster it and intervening early where possible to prevent it
  2. provide adequate support where violence does occur
  3. work in partnership to obtain the best outcome for victims and their families
  4. take action to reduce the risk to women and girls who are victims of these crimes and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice

Working in partnership

We have to work together to achieve our goal of ending violence against women and girls. It is not a task for central government alone. We will need to work with families and communities to change attitudes. Local authorities, police and crime commissioners, voluntary and community organisations, community safety partnerships, the NHS and more will need to work together to meet the needs of their local communities.

Key themes

Key themes include:

  • early intervention – making sure young people understand the importance of healthy relationships and respect the right to say no
  • the importance of training – for professionals and frontline staff to spot early signs and risk factors of domestic and sexual violence, child sexual abuse, and harmful practices - including a new e-learning training course for GPs on violence against women and children
  • new powers – helping domestic violence victims break the cycle of abuse including piloting Domestic Violence Protection Orders which allow police to ban alleged abusers from returning to the victim's home for several weeks
  • support for victims – ensuring that women who are in the country on spousal visas and who are forced to flee their relationship as a direct result domestic violence are supported
  • international work – supporting innovative new projects in the poorest countries and working with international organisations and governments overseas to promote women’s rights globally and reduce the impact of conflict on women and girls

Read more about these key themes.

What is violence against women and girls?

'Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.' United Nations Declaration (1993) on the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

This declaration, which we have adopted, enshrines women’s right to live without the fear of violence and abuse. This is the first time that the government has agreed to work to a single definition and we will specifically include girls in our approach.

Violence against women and girls can include, but is not restricted to, domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking, forced marriage, so-called ‘honour’ based violence, and female genital mutilation.

Help

If you have experienced violence visit Directgov, which has information and support.

If you are in immediate danger dial 999.

Further information

Further details about what we’re doing to support the work to end violence against women and girls will be published in the spring.

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