Public Sector urged to act, to help make women and girls safer
Matthew Scott, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, has today written to a number of public bodies following the results of his survey about the level of violence experienced by women and girls. Calling for “joined up and co-ordinated action” the PCC has shared the initial views of victims with local authorities, Police Forces and other criminal justice agencies.
With more than 8200 responses, most women and girls said that they don’t feel safe in public spaces at night and take precautions whilst walking home, though they did feel safer during the day.
In terms of the crime experienced, most respondents had not been a victim of crime, but the three most common types of those who had been, were harassment, domestic abuse or sexual offences. And victim satisfaction scores showed that no criminal justice agency received a net positive result from victims of crime.
Mr Scott said
“I have heard loud and clear that women and girls want action from public agencies that will help make them feel safer. We need these organisations to work together to address these and commit to resolving issues in partnership. No longer can we pass problems around different agencies – we need joined up and co-ordinated action to make women and girls safer.”
Analysis of all of the free text areas within the survey also drew out some consistent themes – CCTV, street lighting, police response, education, online harms and the criminal justice process key amongst them.
Mr Scott added,
“In the next phase of the enquiry, we will be doing an anonymous deep dive of crime reports in Kent to focus on key trends and developments to help everyone pinpoint the actions they need to take and hearing more from victims about their experiences. But early commitments from the public sector to look at these issues and address those they are responsible for will be key ahead of the publication of my recommendations early next year.”
Note to editors:
The survey was launched in August and below are some details from it.
More than 8200 people of all ages completed the questionnaire. We asked them how safe they felt in different areas: like their home streets, on public transport and in town centres at different times of the day and night.
All age groups experienced some sort of anxiety, although younger women and girls felt it more keenly. The table below illustrates this with the red numbers indicating the lowest scores and green numbers the higher.
We also asked them if they had been a victim of violence or harassment over the last year? The good news is that just over 69% said they had not been a victim of crime, although repeated lockdowns may have affected this figure.
The table below shows the types of crimes experienced by women and girls over the last 12 months.
We also asked women and girls what would make them feel safer and we had thousands of responses. Below are some of the examples:
“I was touched inappropriately in a club without consent, when I reported to club staff they said to take it as a compliment. Was a horrible experience and happens far too often, police should make efforts to train event staff for this sort of occurrence.” 21-29, Tonbridge & Malling
“The courts have not done enough to stick to their word. I have been in and out of court with my son over ten times and still not resolved, due to the offender not turning up. They have not been dealt with appropriately and a year and a half later, it’s still not finished.” 30-39, Tonbridge & Malling
“My partner lives in Germany parts of the year and I go with him a lot. The streets there are all very well-lit and I feel this makes a tremendous difference and the streets have more going on, because people will go out in well-lit communities, which in turn become safer communities.” 60-69, Thanet
“Role play in health lessons, to demonstrate to boys how it is appropriate to talk/approach girls and for girls to voice how they feel in certain situations.”21-29, Dover
“I would like agencies such as police, victim support etc to give talks in schools to show students what happens when crimes, especially sexual crimes, are reported. I think a lot of victims are still worried about reporting things to the police as they are worried about what will happen. We need to break down these barriers and reassure people that they will be treated fairly and with respect.” 50-59, Ashford
We also asked women and girls who had been a victim of crime, to record their levels of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the Police, the CPS and court system. Although most victims had not been through these official channels, it revealed an alarming level of dissatisfaction with the criminal justice system.
This table answers the question “Were you satisfied with the service provided?
If you eliminate the N/A in each category, satisfaction rates were particularly low with the Crown Prosecution Service (74% unsatisfied) and HM Courts and Tribunal Service (78% unsatisfied). Just over 55% were unsatisfied with the Police.