The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners has welcomed the publication of policing's plans to improve its response to violence against women and girls (VAWG).
Responding to the launch of the National Police Chiefs' Council-College of Policing framework, Joint APCC Victims Lead Sophie Linden said: The strategy sets out a plan for the immediate policing response, with a focus on re-building trust and confidence across all our communities.
Police and Crime Commissioners will support policing in delivering on this action plan, and continue to hold Chief Constables to account, but there is much more that we as PCCs can and must do to help drive wider change. That is why we are already working on our own APCC action plan to tackle violence against women and girls. Published in the new year, it will set out the work PCCs are already doing locally and nationally, alongside new commitments for the year ahead.
We need to see changes across the whole justice system to improve the victims' journey and see more offenders brought to justice. Charge and conviction rates remain unacceptably low.
Far too many cases end because the delays getting to court mean victims drop out. Through the services we commission to support victims - including specialist support for survivors of rape, sexual violence, and domestic abuse - we can help victims remain engaged with the justice system for longer and support their recovery.
We can also help by supporting projects which challenge and drive change in perpetrators' behaviour. Society must stop blaming victims for what happens to them. It should be offenders who are held to account and made to change their behaviours.
And we will continue to work with local councils and other partners to ensure that all spaces - public, private, and online - are places where women and girls can thrive and feel safe.
The policing response is important, but it is only by intervening early, and by investing in prevention, education, and health-based approaches, that together we can end violence against women and girls.
Fellow Joint APCC Victims Lead Donna Jones said: The new policing framework is taking a phased approach and it is not trying to bite off more than it can chew. It has three clear areas of focus in this first phase.
The relentless pursuit of offenders is key; the quicker that violent individuals are brought to justice the less chance there is of them reoffending while under investigation or on police or court bail. If we have an expedited criminal justice process this will also help to build the trust and confidence in victims.
I believe some of the current challenges in terms of tackling VAWG, and making victims feel safer and bringing perpetrators to justice quickly, lay outside of the police, which is recognised for phase two of the framework.
I am looking forward to working with Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth, her team and the College of Policing in my position as lead for victims to make sure we are drilling down and working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and HM Courts & Tribunals Service to ensure there is a holistic approach to tackling violence against women and girls.