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The Inquiry was set up to create a legacy of partnership-working, designed to make Kent even safer for Women and Girls wherever they are. In the wake of several high-profile shocking events and a Government refresh of the national Violence against women and girls (VAWG) strategy, my aim was to work in partnership to understand what more could be done locally, including identifying gaps in provision, seeking ways of preventing these crimes and improving victims’ journeys through the Criminal Justice System.
Four pillars. The inquiry focused on four pillars: Prevention, Engagement, the Victim's Journey, and Rehabilitation. The work was carried out with a wide range of partners.
Themes. We examined what victims told us, what the criminal data told us, criminal justice outcomes, what support was available for victims, as well as what we’d learned and best practice recommendations. The crimes we looked at included Sexual offences, Assault, Domestic abuse, Stalking, Harassment and Drink spiking, amongst others. We looked solely at cases involving female victims and male offenders.
This inquiry was built with partnership-working in mind. We consulted victims and witnesses, support services, partnership agencies and authorities.
Our thanks to everyone who filled in our call for evidence survey and for those who participated in our roundtable events.
Process. We published a “Call for Evidence” survey and promoted this through local media and social media. Its aim was to understand how safe women and girls felt in Kent, whether they had been a victim and whether they reported it. It ran from August 2021 until October 2021. Detailed analysis of the data highlighted areas of concern and careful logging of its free-text commentary provided additional substance and highlighted themes and trends. (November 2021 – February 2022)
A Steering Group of stakeholders was set up to guide direction and priorities, as well as to complete a Gap Analysis (August 2021). A Big Data exercise, carried out by i3 Analytics, was commissioned to look at victim and offender profiles and trends. Their work looked at ten years of data.
Set piece events. As the PCC, I held the Force to account through a specially VAWG tailored Performance and Delivery Board (September 2021). I discussed pertinent issues with criminal justice agencies at the Kent Criminal Justice Board. (September 2021). Several Roundtable events were held with different stakeholders, to listen to the variety of ways partners were tackling VAWG: discussions included how to improve provision for victims through commissioned services, as well as preventing misogyny through education. (September 2021 to February 2022).
Nationally there has been a significant change of pace to tackle what was described as an “endemic” issue by the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners and the National Police Chief’s Council. The Government set out its plans through its VAWG and Domestic Abuse Strategies, with the NPCC’s VAWG Framework being led by DCC Maggie Blyth.